Are your eyes constantly dry, itchy, and irritated? Do you frequently rub your eyes, but they just won’t stop itching? While allergies or a change in the weather can cause itchiness and dryness, one of the most common reasons is dry eye syndrome. Let’s take a closer look at this condition, its symptoms and causes, and tips for finding relief.
What is dry eye syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome, or dry eye disease, happens when your eyes don’t make enough tears, or your tears evaporate too quickly. People with dry eye may experience symptoms like redness, irritation, a burning sensation in the eyes, light sensitivity, blurred vision, and, of course, dry, itchy eyes. Some people also have trouble wearing contact lenses or staring at screens for too long.
Dry eye can also cause watery eyes. This confusing symptom is called reflex tearing, and it happens when your eyes create too many tears to compensate for dryness. Reflex tears are typically poor quality and won’t lubricate your eyes as effectively as your natural tears.
What causes dry eye syndrome?
Many different factors can lead to dry eye, including aging, certain medications, environmental factors like air conditioning or heating, and medical conditions such as arthritis or lupus. Women are also more likely to develop dry eye than men due to the hormonal changes that can occur during a woman’s life.
Tips for finding relief
Fortunately, there are many ways to relieve or even prevent dry eye. Lubricating eye drops, also called artificial tears, add moisture to the eyes and help relieve dryness and irritation. If you use eye drops multiple times throughout the day, we recommend using preservative-free eye drops. These eye drops have fewer additives and are less likely to irritate your eyes.
Your eye doctor may also recommend making some lifestyle changes, including using a humidifier at home and avoiding smoke, wind, and air conditioning when possible. They may suggest blinking exercises to help spread your tears over the surface of your eyes. Your eyes may also feel better if you take frequent breaks from screens or use warm compresses to soothe your dry eyes.
Expert dry eye care
For many people with occasional or mild dry eye, over-the-counter eye drops or at-home remedies are enough to relieve symptoms. However, if your dry eye symptoms persist or get worse, it’s important to see an eye doctor for professional care. Chronic dry eye is very common, but it can lead to serious long-term issues like scarring and vision loss if left untreated.
At Ensight Eyecare, we’re experts in dry eye diagnosis and treatment. Our experienced eye doctor Dr. James Barton will work closely with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms. We offer a range of treatments for patients with dry eye, including heat eye pads, Oasis drops, wipes, and sprays not available over the counter. Give us a call today to schedule an eye exam in Andalusia.