Dry Eye Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
A normal, healthy eye ought to have substantial tear reserves. Tears keep your eyes lubricated and moisturized. But that is not the case for everyone, unfortunately. Dry Eye Syndrome can get in the way of the activities you love doing and prevent you from performing your job effectively. People with this condition tend to have tired eyes; they may also experience an overwhelming desire to close their eyes.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry Eye Syndrome is a disorder that occurs when the eyes don’t make enough tears. In some instances, the eyes make enough tears but evaporate faster, leaving your eyes all but dry. It is estimated that Dry Eye Syndrome is more prevalent in older adults over 65. However, it affects women more commonly than men and can also affect young people.
Did you know that your eyes need tears to stay healthy and comfortable? The tears spread over your eye every time you blink. But some people do not produce enough tears or don’t produce any at all. They suffer from dry eye syndrome.
Dry eyes will always make you feel like rubbing your eyes. It is painful and uncomfortable. When affected by this condition, your eyes will always be dry and itchy. This disturbing sensation will make focusing on everyday objects quite tricky.
The eyes can make more tears, however, when you cry or when your eyes become irritated.
What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome?
It is critical for your eyeballs to have sufficient lubrication. When affected by Dry Eye Syndrome, they will not have the kind of lubrication they require. People with this condition may also produce ‘poor-quality’ tears, which cause inflammation and damage your eye’s surface.
Here are some prevalent dry eye symptoms you need to look out for:
- A burning eye sensation that never goes away. You always feel the urge to rub your eyes.
- Redness of the eyes.
- You may feel like sleeping the whole day.
- Your eyes may continuously itch and become sensitive to light as the condition worsens.
- You may experience difficulty with driving at night.
- You may find it difficult or uncomfortable to wear contact glasses.
- You may experience recurring blurred visions and eye fatigue, making it difficult to concentrate on your job.
- You may experience watery eyes.
- You may experience double vision.
- Sometimes, your eyelids may stick together when waking up
- You may experience increased eye sensitivity to smoke or wind
- You may also find it difficult to keep your eyes open for a long time
Who is at Risk of getting Dry Eye Syndrome?
Nobody is immune to Dry Eye Syndrome. You can get it no matter your age or gender. However, people with the conditions below have a higher chance of getting it.
- People who are past the age of 55.
- Women who are past menopause.
- People who are Vitamin A deficient.
- Women who experience hormonal changes due to the use of birth control pills.
- People who constantly wear contact glasses.
- People who sit behind computers for a long time without any breaks in between.
- People who spend a lot of time in air-conditioned rooms or heated environments.
- People who suffer from certain diseases, such as thyroid disease and lupus.
- Patients who undergo refractive eye surgery.
Taking certain medications can also increase your chances of getting dry eye syndrome. They could be drugs used to treat depression and allergies.
How to Help Your Doctor Examine Any Case of Dry Eye Syndrome?
If you suspect any problem with your eye, you should let your doctor know so that they consider checking for dry eye syndrome during a dilated eye exam. A dilated eye exam is usually a simple exercise involving giving you eye drops to dilate the pupil.
Your doctor might check out for the following if they suspect you have dry eye syndrome. They will check the following:
- How many tears your eyes make.
- How long your eyes take to dry up.
Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome
There isn’t any specific treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome. For the most part, the kind of treatment you will receive depends on what is causing the symptoms. Thus, most treatments are focused on easing the symptoms and keeping your eyes as comfortable as possible.
1. Eye Drops
Dry Eye Syndrome varies from one person to the other. People with mild or occasional Dry Eye Syndrome symptoms can get along just fine with over-the-counter, nonprescription eye drops, which are also known as artificial tears. Also, there are moisturizing gels that make your eyes comfortable.
2. Medicines by Doctor
People with severe cases of Dry Eye Syndrome must seek the guidance of a qualified optician. The optician is bound to recommend drugs or medicines that will improve tear production or the quality of the tears.
3. Lifestyle Changes
People with underlying medical conditions use drugs that may otherwise affect the eye’s functionality. If the drugs make your eyes drier, your doctor might recommend trying another medicine.
4. Use of Tear Duct Plugs
What if you have enough tears, but they dry up so fast? A practical solution to that is using duct plugs in your tear ducts. The plugs help to keep tears in your eyes for relatively longer.
Sometimes your tears dry up so fast because your lower eyelids are loose. To correct this, your doctor will recommend surgery to keep your eyelids in shape and ultimately help tears stay in your eyes longer.
Dry eyes are irritating and itchy. They can even worsen if your work involves sitting behind a computer. Some people experience severe pain and are unable to perform their daily tasks. Fortunately, you now know the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome and what medications exist to get rid of the same. Always contact your doctor when in doubt.