Dry Eye Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Why DO You Get Dry Eyes?
Dry eyes is an extremely common symptom that affects as many as 337 million people globally. It is that uncomfortable scratchy feeling that you get in your eyes after staring at a computer screen for a long time without blinking. You can also get the gritty feeling common for those suffering from dry eyes when you stare or focus on something and forget to blink as often as you should.
Almost everyone has probably had or will have dry eyes at some point in their life. However, there are some cases where dry eyes are a symptom of a more serious vision problem.
Before we go further, let’s understand a little bit more about dry eyes and how it affects you.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
Dry eyes are caused by your eyes not producing enough lubricant or tears to keep it moist at all times. The lack of lubrication is what causes that uncomfortable gritty feeling that we associate with dry eyes.
There are many reasons that your eyes don’t produce enough tears, but the most common ones are:
- Certain vision problems often result in dry eyes as a symptom
- Spending long periods in front of screens is a common cause of dry eyes
- Exposure to windy conditions, air-conditioning or heating can dry your eyes
- Wearing contact lenses for an extended period of time
- As a side effect of certain medications
Symptoms Of Dry Eye Syndrome
You may experience it slightly differently to other people, so here is a simple list of symptoms that explains how dry eyes may affect you.
- Red or inflamed (puffy) eyes
- A burning sensation on the surface of the eye
- Fatigued eyes, eyes that feel as if they want to stay closed for long periods of time
- Consistent itchiness
- The eye frequently feels overly dry
- Blurred vision, objects appear to be out of focus
- Photophobia, a sensitivity to bright light
- Watering eyes, ducts can overproduce tears, but they do not stay long enough to correct the feeling of dryness
- A gritty uncomfortable sensation, when it feels like you have something in your eye, even though there is nothing there
Dangers of Dry Eye
When ignored, the consequences of dry eye can be highly uncomfortable. Examples include scarring on the surface of the eye or intense inflammation (swelling).
Certain professions make dry eye symptoms difficult to avoid. Those are professions which require long periods of time staring at the computer or mobile screens, or surgeons who are required to hold their line of sight without blinking. It’s recommended to take frequent breaks from looking at your screen, to avoid the onset of dry eye.
How To Cure Dry Eyes
When looking at curing dry eyes, it is important to consider two distinct options; prevention and treatment or cure. If you want to avoid dry eyes, then it would be better to focus on preventing dry eyes through a few simple techniques.
- Wearing computer glasses or special lenses help prevent dry eyes that are the result of staring at a computer screen for too long. Eyezen® lenses filter out blue light from screens and reduce eye discomfort from staring at a screen for too long
- Take regular breaks when working on your computer or in front of a screen to rest your eyes for a few minutes
- Simple eye exercises can help prevent dry eyes. An effective exercise is to alternate between lightly closing your eyes and then forcing them to shut with strength. Do this about 20 times a day to increase your blinking, which automatically produces tears in your eyes
If you’re already suffering from dry eyes there are treatment options to consider to give you some much-needed relief.
- Eye drops or artificial tears lubricate the eye in a natural way, without medication. Available at most supermarkets and pharmacies, it is a simple and effective way to provide immediate relief.
- A more invasive and extreme measure would be to have corrective surgery. This is for extreme cases and should not be considered without consulting a medical professional.
If you’d like to find out more about preventing dry eyes or treating the condition, we recommend visiting your nearest optometrist to enquire about your best option.
Suffering from dry eyes?
Visit your nearest optometrist today to learn about the solutions available to you.