It’s late winter and it’s cold outside. With low humidity and indoor heating the norm, our eyes need to work harder to stay lubricated, often making already-dry eyes even worse.
Dry eye syndrome is a condition caused by a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication on the surface of the eye. The consequence of dry eye syndrome ranges from slight persistent irritation to the severe inflammation of the front of the eye.
Red, irritated eyes accompanied by constant dryness, the feeling of debris in your eyes and a burning feeling, are the most common symptoms of dry eyes. These symptoms are often sufficient enough for an eye doctor to diagnose dry eye syndrome.
Another key component in dry eye is fluctuating vision. Without a healthy layer of tears on the eye’s surface, light does not focus properly. Weirdly, dry eye syndrome may actually cause watery eyes. Because a dry eye may feel gritty, the brain reacts by trying to “wash out” the debris.
Fortunately, eye doctors can measure the amount of tears in your eyes, and can determine the degree the dryness is damaging your eye’s surface. As necessary, your eye care professional will prescribe medications and perform procedures that help alleviate and reduce these symptoms.
Tears are essential for eye health. They keep the eyes clean by washing away debris and other contaminants while keeping the eyes moist. They even guard against eye infection and aid in healing from minor injuries. Tears are complex fluids which contain enzymes and several essential components that prevent their evaporation. In dry eye syndrome, glands near the eyes don’t make enough tears or function improperly, which causes the tears to evaporate. As these tears evaporate many inflammatory factors get concentrated on the eye’s surface and cause a burning, gritty sensation.
Factors that contribute to dry eyes include age, gender, certain medications, insufficient blinking (especially while staring at a computer screen), or simply the season or your location – dusty, dry and windy climates are more likely to promote dry eye syndrome. Other reasons why dry eye might persist are long-term contact lens wear, smoking and certain systemic diseases.
There are several options to treat dry eye syndrome:
Artificial tears – over-the-counter eye drops for lubrication
Medicated drops – prescription eye drops that increase natural tear production
Ophthalmic inserts – a cellulose-based material placed in your eye which allows for continual lubrication
Tear duct plugs – plugs used to obstruct tear ducts/drains
Tear duct closure – a procedure to surgically close tear ducts
Self-care – drinking plenty of water, proper eyewear and avoiding winding conditions
Sterile ointments – an overnight measure to prevent eye dryness
Fish Oil — a natural anti-inflammatory that will help the production of health tears
Hygiene — lid scrubs help reduce the inflammatory factors that cause symptoms
If you have persistent dry eyes contact Tower Clock Eye Center. Our doctors can determine the cause of your dry eye and offer advice for the proper treatment of your conditions. To make an appointment, call 920-499-3102.
Tower Clock Eye Center doctors are experts in treating dry eye, a chronic, common condition that affects a wide range of people, especially older adults. During each blink the eye spreads tears around the cornea, or front-facing surface of the eye. These tears are the eye’s lubrication and maintain clarity. In addition, they wash away... read more
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