When you work, do your eyes feel irritated or like there is something in them? Do you feel like you’re crying all the time?
These could be signs that you have dry eyes. Having dry eyes is a pretty common condition that affects millions of Americans. It can be annoying and sometimes painful.
If you have dry eyes, it is important to understand the causes and symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about what to do if your eyes are dry!
What is dry eye?
Dry eye usually occurs because you aren’t producing enough tears or your tears are low-quality. The environment that you’re in can also affect how dry your eyes are.
If you have dry eye, your tears are not able to properly moisturize your eyes or cover the surface of the eye. Your tears are made up of water, oil, and mucus.
This combination keeps your eyes healthy and lubricated. If something happens to your tears or the tear production system, you can develop dry eye.
If you have dry eyes, your eyes can overproduce tears. This is your eyes attempt to moisturize your eyes, but they will not be good quality tears.
What are the symptoms of dry eye?
There are many symptoms tied to dry eyes. They include:
- Having dry, itchy or burning eyes
- Feeling like there is something in your eyes
- Being sensitive to light that results in blinking or squinting more
- Trouble focusing because your eyes are too dry
- Watery eyes due to low-quality tear overproduction
What causes dry eyes?
Dry eyes can be caused by your environment, lifestyle, medication, or your health.
Environmental causes include: being near dry or hot air blowing, flying too often, or being outdoors. Allergies can cause dry eye too.
A lifestyle cause could be using screens throughout the day. If you use a computer for work or like to watch TV, you should practice the 20-20-20 rule.
With the 20-20-20 rule, you take a 20-second break and look 20 feet away every 20 minutes. This allows your eyes to refocus.
Health or medication causes of dry eye are blocked tear ducts, wearing contact lenses that don’t fit or aren’t clean or taking certain medications. These medications can include antihistamines, antidepressants, and birth control.
Understanding the cause of your dry eyes is helpful in figuring out the right treatment.
How do you treat dry eyes?
There are many different ways to treat your dry eyes. Make sure to talk to a doctor to figure out the best treatment for your dry eyes. Treatments can include:
Artificial tears are the most common treatment used for treating dry eye. There are many options, including prescription and over the counter.
Talk with your doctor to see which brand and type they recommend. If you have a more severe case of dry eye, your eye doctor may prescribe a prescription to treat dry eye symptoms.
Temporary or permanent punctal plugs:
Punctal plugs are a temporary or permanent way to plug your tear glands. Punctal plugs can be helpful for reducing tear overproduction and forcing tears to stay on the surface of the eye longer.
Eating Omega-3 rich foods:
Eating foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce your dry eye symptoms in a natural way. Fish and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help with the eye’s oil production.
If your dry eye doesn’t improve over time, please consult a doctor. When left untreated, dry eye can lead to severe vision problems.
Do you think that you have dry eyes? Schedule an appointment at South Texas Eye Institute in San Antonio, TX to discuss your dry eye treatment options!