Dry Eye Syndrome: Everything You Need to Know
Dry eye syndrome is a condition that affects millions of people. While most sufferers are older, it can still change younger demographics. Dry eyes are caused when you're not producing enough tears. Its effects can be exacerbated in environments with poor air quality. If you think you may be suffering from the condition, here's everything you'll need to know.
What Are the Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome?
A common symptom you may feel is the dryness. It may feel like your eyes feel more tense and stiff. That is usually accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
- Excessive redness in eyes
- A tickling or stinging sensation in your eyes
- A feeling of burning in your eyes
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Eye fatigue and/or blurry vision
- Feeling tired for no reason
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, you must go see your optometrist. It's also important to understand that you may be dealing with a bacterial infection or some inflammation as well. Regardless of what is causing your eye problems, you still want to see a doctor.
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
There are many causes of dry eye syndrome. Many factors come into play. Here's a quick list of things that can cause this problem:
- You have a genetic predisposition for producing fewer tears.
- You are older than 50, which increases your risk of developing it.
- You are always in an environment with poor air quality.
- You spend many hours exposed to blue light. Sources include computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
- You have other health problems like arthritis, thyroid problems, or diabetes.
- Your current medication may be causing it without your knowledge.
- You've had an eye procedure like LASIK in the past.
- You may have a problem with your eyelids that naturally occur with ageing.
How to Manage Your Condition
Fortunately, there are many different things you can do to manage dry eye syndrome. Here are some things that you can do to reduce the symptoms and the progression of the problem.
- Take regular breaks from using your computer, tablet, and/or smartphone. It will also help to use a blue light blocker while you're using these devices.
- Start using a humidifier if you spend a lot of time in an area that's dry.
- Purchase over-the-counter eye lubricant drops to keep your eyes hydrated. Be sure to try different ones as some of them may irritate your eyes.
- Work on your health. Quit smoking if you are a smoker. Supplement with omega-3 fatty acids as it may help enhance oil production from your tear ducts.
Are There Any Treatment Options Available?
Yes, but treatment options will be dependent on the cause of dry eye syndrome. You'll want to see an optometrist to figure out what exactly is causing your problem. From there, you can discuss your options with your doctor to work on the leading cause of your problem.
For instance, you can take medication such as pilocarpine if it's been found that you are dealing with excess pressure inside your eyes. You can opt for surgery if your eyelids are largely responsible for blocking your meibomian glands. Your meibomian glands produce an oily substance that helps retain moisture on your eyes.
You can even opt for lacrimal plugs. These are plugs that block out the drainage holes that are located in the corner of your eyes. When the drainage holes are blocked, it'll be easier to accumulate and retain moisture in your eyes. This is a very viable solution for many people.
These are basically the things you need to know about dry eye syndrome. The important thing here is to figure out what is causing your problem. You want to visit a doctor right away because you may be dealing with a bacterial infection. In many cases, the issue is either temporary or easily resolved. So make sure you schedule an appointment with your doctor right away if your dry eye syndrome persists or is very painful.