Tears are a necessary part of eye health. They rinse the eye of any dust or particles and maintain moisture. They also contain enzymes that eliminate microorganisms that can be present in the eye.
In instances where the eyes do not produce sufficient tears, symptoms can present themselves such as persistent dryness, burning, itching or the feeling of a foreign body in your eye. To the surprise of many, occasionally dry eyes can cause watery eyes in an attempt to combat dryness.
Quite a few factors can result in dry eye syndrome. Dry eyes are often age related since it is usually adults that complain of dry eye syndrome, and often women during menopause. Dry eye syndrome can also be a result of some medications. Climate that is especially dry, or dry heat or air circulation are also known causes. Additionally, certain systemic diseases or problems with tear production, extended computer use which can cause insufficient blinking, or contact lens usage can contribute to dry eye syndrome.
The preferred treatment option is typically lubricating eye drops which often work to reduce dryness. Your optometrist can instruct you which eye drops to purchase and how to use them. If over the counter options don’t help you may need prescription drops that actually stimulate your eyes to produce more tears.
If artificial tears don’t help, your eye doctor might want to try Lacrisert, which is placed on the eyelid and lets out lubricating ingredients throughout the day. Another option might be lacrimal plugs which help keep the eye moist by keeping tears from draining too quickly. Some eye care professionals will discuss a few nutritional supplements or environmental adjustments to relieve discomfort.
In most cases, dry eye syndrome does not result in any real harm but can be a nuisance. However, very serious cases could make you more susceptible to infection so it is advised to speak to your optometrist.
Particularly during the wintertime, it is important to make every effort to safeguard your eyes from dry, cold winds and particles. Using sunglasses when going outdoors, and using a humidifier inside to combat dry heat are ways to reduce exposure and dryness.
You don’t have to suffer from dry, itchy, burning eyes - visit your optometrist right away!