Dry eye syndrome, also known as dry eye disease or dry eyes, occurs when your eyes don't make enough tears, or evaporation of the tears happens too quickly leading to the eyes drying out and resulting in red, itchy, and irritated.
Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome
Mild for most people, the symptoms can also become more severe causing pain and complications. Usually affecting both eyes the most common symptoms are:
- feelings of itchy dryness, grittiness (as if sand is in your eyes) or soreness that gets worse throughout the day
- burning, red eyes
- eyelids that are stuck together upon awakening
- frequent blurry vision which improves if you blink
- watery eyes – which occurs because your eye tries to relieve the irritation and dryness by producing more tears.
When should I see my eye doctor?
See your Cove Eyecare eye doctor, Dr. Micheline D. Young if you have chronic but mild symptoms of dry eye syndrome. It is important that Dr. Young examine you to make sure the problem is not being caused by an underlying condition.
What causes dry eye syndrome?
There are such a variety of reasons why the eye’s intricate tear production process is disrupted in some way however, quite often a reason cannot be found.
Common causes can include:
- a common symptom after Lasik eye surgery
- a hot or windy environment
- wearing contacts
- underlying conditions such as blepharitis
- side effects of certain medications such as: antihistamines, diuretics, beta-blockers and antidepressants
- changes in hormone levels especially in women – as during pregnancy, taking birth control pills, or during menopause
Research estimates that up to one in every three people over the age of 65 experiences problems with dry eyes, and women seen to get dry eye syndrome more than men.
How is dry eye syndrome treated?
Many treatments are available over the counter as well as by prescription to help relieve the symptoms, which include:
- lubricating eye drops
- lubricating ointments
- diet and specific vitamin supplements including fish oil.
- anti-inflammation medications
- temporary punctal occlusion (tear duct plugs)
- non-dissolving punctal plugs and punctal occlusion by cautery
There are things you can do for yourself to help prevent or greatly reduce the symptoms of dry eye syndrome which include:
- maintaining clean eyes and eyelids
- protecting your eyes from dusty, windy, smoky, and dry environments
- correctly using your computer/mobile devices to avoid eye strain
- implementing the use of a humidifier to add moisture to the air
- a healthy diet which includes omega-3 and omega-7 fatty acids
Make sure to contact your Cove Eyecare optometrist, Dr. Micheline D. Young if you have questions or concerns regarding symptoms of dry eye syndrome.