Dry eyes sound like a minor concern until you’re dealing with it every single day. Few people realize just how disruptive simple eye dryness can be to your life. Constantly being distracted and uncomfortable by itchy, red, or watering eyes. The itching drives you to distraction, the redness is commented on socially, and watering can get so bad you can hardly drive.
Do any of these experiences sound like your life or the life of someone you know? Then you or your loved one may suffer from dry eye syndrome. This is a combination of symptoms with a wide variety of causes. Fortunately, dry eye can be treated. This page will tell you everything you need to know about the basics of diagnosing and treating uncomfortable dry eyes.
Dry eye syndrome occurs when your tears can’t do their job. The human eye is designed to generate tears, which are a combination of water, salt, and oils. These passive tears are meant to constantly lubricate your eyes. Tears keep your eyes from drying out and help to casually deflect or wash away any dust in the air.
Dry eyes occur when one of two things happens. Either your tear ducts are not producing enough tears or your tears are not the right formula to properly protect your eyes. Dry eyes may occur, for example, if your tears evaporate too quickly because there are not enough oils, leaving your eyes dry and itchy.
These tear deficiencies can be caused by a number of conditions, illnesses, or medications and some populations are more at risk of dry eyes than others. Keep reading to explore the symptoms of dry eyes, causes of dry eye, and treatments that can help.
The symptoms for dry eyes are not always the same for each person. They vary depending both on the cause of the dryness, environmental conditions, and each person’s unique physiology. Take a look through the symptoms and see which ones apply to you, and which ones you may not have even realized were related to your dry eye problems.
There are three types of mechanical cause for dry eye: Reduced tear production, increased tear evaporation, or the wrong tear mixture. However, what causes these problems can vary widely from environmental factors to illness or medication. There are many different things that can influence your eye’s ability to generate the right amount of viscous tears to keep your eyes moist and protected. For many patients, more than one cause applies.
When your eyes are dry due to a lack of tears, this means that your tear ducts are still producing healthy tears but not enough to keep your eyes moist and healthy. Reduced tear production can be the result of a medical imbalance, deficiency, or condition which slows the function of your tear ducts to a less than optimal rate of tear production. For eye moisture, rather than crying, this means that your eyes are not producing enough moisture to lubricate fully every time you blink.
Tear evaporation is not a problem with your tear ducts (unless it’s a tear composition problem, see next section). Instead, it is the result of environmental or eye mechanical problems that create the standard dry eye symptoms. Wind other air environmental factors can play a major roe, as can contacts. But tear evaporation problems may also relate to the function of your eyelids.
In some cases, eyes experience dryness because the tears aren’t made right. Your tears are made of three different layers. The oil layer on top is your outside protection and keeps the surface of your eye smooth. It also protects your eye from evaporation. The inner later is watery and made up of the tears that moisturize and constantly wash your eye. And the inner layer is a thin mucus that helps distribute the tears.
If anyone of the three layers is not working right, you can experience dry eye and discomfort. Your tears may be too thin and evaporate too easily, or they may be to thick and form as stringy goo instead of a thin liquid coating.
Dry eyes can also be caused by environmental conditions or life events that affect your eyes.
Curing your dry eye will require you to find and solve the underlying cause. For some people, it’s a problem you will always need to deal with. Fortunately, treating the symptoms and removing the discomfort of dry eye are easy to do.
It is possible to treat many of the symptoms of dry eye at home or with over-the-counter medications. However, to solve the underlying problem or treat more severe symptoms, you will need the help of a medical professional. If you or someone you know is suffering from ongoing dry eye syndrome, we can help. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.
Consult With a Medical Professional About Your Eyes