Do your eyes feel scratchy or as if something is in them? You might have dry eye syndrome or dry eyes as it is also known. This is a common problem that can occur occasionally or over long periods. Symptoms like itchiness, redness, heavy eyelids, sensitivity to light, and burning or stinging sensation may be mild or severe. While it can be rather painful too, it should not affect your vision. However, there are severe cases of untreated dry eyes that result in visual impairment and scarring of the eye’s surface.
Evaporative Dry Eye
Evaporative dry eye is the most common type of dry eye. It is caused by inflammation of the meibomian glands which is located in the eyelids. The inflammation keeps these glands from producing enough oil to help stop tears from evaporating too quickly.
Aqueous Tear-Deficient Dry Eye
Also referred to as painful blindness dry eye, this type of dry eye occurs when another set of glands (lacrimal glands) fail to produce enough tears to coat and clean the surface of the eye properly. This type of dry eye is often caused by damage to the tear gland by several factors, such as pollution, aging, or side effects from certain medications.
Aside from using ointment, eye drops, or artificial tears, you can alleviate the symptoms by avoiding places with a lot of air movement. Keep your eyes from drying out by limiting your direct exposure to fans or hair dryers and wearing wraparound sunglasses outdoors on windy days. Another way to prevent dry eyes is by using a humidifier during winter time to keep the air moist. Since frequent reading, TV-watching, and computer or cellphone use can also make your eyes dry, don’t forget to take breaks from time to time. This way, your eyes can rest and regain some moisture. Cigarette smoke can irritate dry eyes so stay away from it. To help improve the quality of your tears, use warm compresses and then wash your eyelids. You can also add an omega-3 fatty acid supplement to your diet.
Dry eye syndrome is not usually a serious condition, and there are many steps you can take to find relief from the symptoms. In rare cases, though, more severe cases of dry eye syndrome may require surgery.
With typical dry eyes, your family doctor will likely check your medical history and personal circumstances, make the diagnosis, and then recommend the use of artificial tears. However, if your symptoms aren’t going away and at-home remedies don’t seem to help, an eye specialist may be necessary. They are trained to provide primary eye and vision care. Optometrists can perform sight testing, diagnosis, treatment, correction, and management of any vision changes. To do this, an eye examination will have to be performed to determine whether you actually have dry eyes and confirm if there are other underlying conditions and medical complications. Treatment options will be recommended as soon as the diagnosis is made.
If you are seeking relief from dry eyes and want the best eye care services possible, visit City Eyes Optometry Center in Los Angeles, California. You can also reach us at (818) 960-1300.