treat dry eye

Even if you’ve heard of the condition known as “dry eyes” or you know someone who suffers from it, you might not be sure what it is or what causes it. Put simply, this is a problem that occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears for proper lubrication. As the name implies, your eyes end up feeling dry, and it can be very uncomfortable. 

You need tears to support the health of your eyes. So, if you aren’t producing enough tears or they aren’t balanced, the surface of your eyes might be affected. Also, if the tears aren’t draining or evaporating properly, your eyes might become irritated, inflamed, or damaged. Plus, dry eyes might even lead to poor vision. 

Dry eyes can become chronic, so getting the right treatment is imperative to restore and protect the eyes. Below is some information on the causes and symptoms of dry eyes, along with some helpful info on how you can go about resolving this problem.  

Dry Eyes Causes and Symptoms

Many factors can contribute to the development of dry eyes. With the help of your doctor, you can work on figuring out what’s causing this issue. Then, you can focus on relieving your symptoms with the appropriate treatments.   

Here are some of the main causes of dry eyes:

  • Insufficient tear production – When enough tears are produced, your eyes feel comfortable and lubricated. However, certain health problems (e.g. thyroid ailments, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis), certain medications (e.g. decongestants, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications), hormonal changes, and aging might adversely affect tear production.
  • Eyelid ailments – Certain conditions that affect the eyelids, such as entropion and blepharitis, may cause the eyes to become dry and uncomfortable.
  • Tear film dysfunction – The tear film of your eyes has several layers, and when a problem develops in one or more of those layers, dry eyes might occur.
  • Excessive tear evaporation – If the tears that are meant to keep your eyes moist evaporate more than they should, your eyes may become dry. This might happen for various reasons, including if you’re in a windy environment or you’re blinking less than you should. Other problems, such as allergies and deficiency in vitamin A, might also be potential causes.

Dry eyes can manifest in a variety of ways, and symptoms might range from mild to severe. If you aren’t sure if you have dry eyes, you can discuss your symptoms with a doctor to get the answers you need. 

When symptoms of dry eyes develop, they might include:

  • Burning and/or scratchy sensation in the eyes
  • Feeling like there’s something in your eye
  • Redness and/or irritation in the eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Mucus surrounding the eyes

Ways To Treat Dry Eyes

You don’t need to live with dry eyes. There are several solutions available, and your doctor can help you figure out what’s best for you based on the cause and severity of your dry eyes symptoms. 

  • The goal of treatment may be to ensure the eyes produce the right amount of tears. You might be told to try artificial tears, which you can buy over the counter, to see if they deliver much-needed relief. Or, your doctor might recommend prescription eye drops that can help boost the production of tears.
  • To help keep your eyes moist, your doctor might recommend blocking your tear ducts by using removable plugs or by performing surgery to close them. Doing so means the tears won’t be able to drain as much, so this might help your eyes feel better.
  • If there’s an eyelid problem that’s causing your eyes to become dry, your doctor might recommend procedures or treatments that can restore the health of your eyes. On the other hand, if you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic condition that’s causing your dry eyes symptoms, addressing the underlying problem might help restore the moisture in your eyes.
  • If a medication is causing dry eyes as a side effect, you might be able to switch to a different medicine. Or, your doctor might prescribe a medication, such as one that reduces inflammation, to tackle your dry eyes problem.
  • If your symptoms seem to develop when you are reading or using a computer or mobile device for extended periods, small changes to your habits and lifestyle might be helpful. And if your eyes become dry when you’re wearing contact lenses, you can talk to an eye doctor about the best contacts for those with dry eyes.

When To See a Doctor

Experiencing dry eyes once in a while might be normal for you. For example, your eyes might feel dry and uncomfortable after you’ve been staring at a screen for a while without blinking. Some people also end up with dry eyes when they’re exposed to a lot of wind or they’re spending time in a dry environment. In those instances, your eyes might return to normal on their own. Or, you might be able to use over-the-counter eye drops designed for relieving dryness to restore the moisture in your eyes. 

If you notice that your eyes are dry a lot, or you are experiencing some of the symptoms of dry eyes that are mentioned above, it may be time to see a doctor, especially if nothing you do at home seems to help. 

Let your doctor know if you’re taking any over-the-counter or prescription medications, and if you have been diagnosed with any health conditions. After examining your eyes and discussing your overall health and lifestyle, your doctor might be able to pinpoint the cause of your symptoms and offer treatment options. 

You Don’t Need To Live With Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are surprisingly common and can be caused by various factors and result in a variety of symptoms. By talking to an eye doctor about what you’re experiencing, you can get the answers you need.  If you’re looking for a Las Vegas eye doctor to discuss your dry eyes symptoms, or to have your eyes examined to check for other conditions, contact us at Brimhall anytime to set up an appointment. 

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