Tears are necessary to keep your eyes healthy. They rinse the eye of any dust or particles and keep the eyes moist and comfortable. They also contain enzymes that eliminate bacteria that can be present in the eye.
For individuals whose eyes do not produce adequate amounts of tears, symptoms can result such as constant feelings of dryness, stinging, itching or a foreign body sensation. To the surprise of many, sometimes dry eyes cause eyes to water excessively to try to compensate for dryness.
Dry eyes are a result of a number of factors. Dry eyes are often age related since it is usually adults that complain of dry eye syndrome, and often women during menopause. Dry eye syndrome can also be a result of a number of medications such as diuretics, antidepressants, birth control pills among others. Dry or dusty air, and excessive heating or air conditioning can also cause or worsen dry eyes. In addition, some diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or others, continual computer use or usage of contact lenses can cause dry eye syndrome.
Dry eye symptoms may be relieved with artificial tears to make up for the lack of natural tears. It’s advisable to consult with your optometrist to make sure you are using the right eye drops in the right way. If non-prescription options aren’t working you may need Rx drops that actually stimulate tear production.
If eye drops don’t relieve your discomfort, your eye doctor might recommend Lacrisert, an insert placed inside the eyelid that periodically releases lubricating ingredients throughout the day. Another option is punctual plugs which help keep moisture on the eye by restricting tears from draining too quickly. Some eye doctors may suggest you try dietary or environmental adjustments to alleviate discomfort.
In most cases, dry eyes will not result in any permanent damage but can be a nuisance. Nevertheless, very serious dry eyes could make you more vulnerable to infection so it is worthwhile to speak to your optometrist.
Particularly in the wintertime, you should to try to safeguard your eyes from dryness, cold winds and particles. Wearing sunglasses when outside, and making use of a humidifier inside when the heat is blasting are steps that could help.
If you are suffering from some of the symptoms listed above visit your optometrist today!