Chances are you have already had at least one episode of dry eye during your lifetime, even if you don’t realize it. This very common condition shares its name with the key symptom sufferers experience, dry eyes. Statistics suggest that between 5 and 15% of the U.S. population suffer from dry eyes at any one time, but many of these people don’t seek any sort of medical help and instead, live with the debilitating symptoms of this condition. Here's what you need to know about the symptoms of dry eyes and what can be done to relieve them.
As its name suggests, dry eye occurs when there is a lack of moisture in the eyes. Our eyes rely on a steady production of tear film to keep them lubricated and comfortable. This tear film is made from a combination of oil, water, and proteins, with the oil providing the essential lubrication needed for us to move our eyes around and focus clearly. This oil is made by glands around the eyes called meibomian glands. Sometimes, hardened oil deposits can form in the glands, preventing enough oil from getting into the tear film and causing dry eye. This is often known as meibomian gland dysfunction and is the most common cause of dry eye.
Other contributing causes of dry eye include hormonal changes (such as those that happen during pregnancy or menopause), spending long hours looking at screens, and spending time in dusty, dry, or artificially heated or cooled environments.
What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?
There are many different symptoms associated with dry eye. The severity of these can vary, and they can come and go or remain constant. They may also seem worse at certain times, such as after spending all day using a computer.
These symptoms include, but aren’t limited to:
Eyes that feel dry and dehydrated
Feeling as though there is grit or something in your eyes
Sensitivity to light
In some cases, your eyes may feel more watery than normal. This is an automatic response by your body to try and hydrate them, but the quality of the tear film will be poor, making it ineffective.
Many different treatments can alleviate the symptoms of dry eyes. Your eye doctor will be able to recommend the variety that they feel will be most effective, but it may be necessary to try several solutions or even combine them to achieve the greatest relief.
Many different types of eyedrops can offer respite from the effects of dry eyes. Some of these are available over the counter, whilst others are only available on prescription from your eye doctor. Always follow the instructions provided.
Gels and ointments tend to stay in the eyes longer than regular eyedrops, meaning that they are often recommended for overnight use.
These are tiny devices placed into the drainage channels in the corner of the eyes, blocking them so that tear film stays on the surface of the eyes for longer.
Lipiflow is one of the most effective treatments for moderate to severe dry eyes. It works by transmitting tiny, electronic impulses of heat and pressure that stimulate the glands responsible for making tear film. In doing so, they become unclogged and can begin working more efficiently, producing the necessary lubrication to keep your eyes healthy.
For more on dry eye symptoms visit Focus Eye Care, P.C. in Hackensack, New Jersey. Call us at (201) 654-0602 to schedule an appointment today.