Many eye conditions affect U.S. adults, but dry eye is one of the most common. Dry eyes may sound purely like a symptom, but it is in fact the name given to a specific eye problem that will be experienced by most people at least once during their lifetime. Some may even suffer from repeated episodes or chronic dry eyes. The condition may not sound serious, but it can be fairly debilitating and start to affect your quality of life. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help.
Dry eyes may be the single most common symptom associated with the condition, but it’s far from the only sign. In fact, people with dry eyes can experience a whole range of different effects, many of which are often overlooked, causing patients to suffer unnecessarily.
Some of the signs and symptoms of dry eyes include:
Eyes that feel itchy and irritated
Eyes that feel gritty or as though you have something like sand or dust in them
Eyes that look red and/or swollen
Feeling the need to blink repeatedly to drink and lubricate your eyes or to be able to see clearly
Blurred vision even when wearing prescription lenses
Difficulty wearing contact lenses because they feel uncomfortable
Difficulty putting contact lenses in or taking them out
Sensitivity to light, especially at night
Sudden flooding of tears to the eyes for no reason (your body does this to try and compensate for severe dryness)
Anyone can suffer from dry eyes, but there are some factors that make someone more likely to develop the condition. These include:
Being a contact lens wearer
Being over 50
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
Spending time in dry, dusty, or artificially heated/cooled environments
Using digital devices for many hours each day
Suffering from specific medical conditions, including Lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, and blepharitis
Taking certain medications, including some that are regularly prescribed for high blood pressure and depression
If you suspect that you may be suffering from dry eye, you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible to obtain a diagnosis. This process will involve the doctor talking to you about your lifestyle and the symptoms that you have been experiencing. They may also carry out a tear film evaluation, in which a tiny strip of paper is placed into each of your eyes to collect moisture. How much moisture they collect will tell your eye doctor how well lubricated your eyes are. They may also be able to determine what the cause of your dry eyes is. Typically, there are two main reasons why someone has dry eyes:
The glands responsible for creating the oil that forms an essential part of the tear film are blocked or failing to work properly, affecting the quality of your tear film and making it less effective
The tear film is draining away from the surface of the eyes too quickly
Once your eye doctor has a good indicator as to the cause of your dry eyes, they will be able to recommend the most effective treatment. There is a wide range of treatment techniques, from eyedrops to surgically-implanted inserts.
If you would like to find out more about dry eyes or to make an appointment, please call Cleburne Eye Clinic in Cleburne, Texas at (817) 645-2411.