Experiencing Dry, Itchy Eyes?
Do you experience dry, scratchy, burning eyes, redness or pain, a gritty feeling like something is in your eye? Or perhaps, excessive tearing, blurred vision, eye fatigue or discomfort wearing contact lenses? Often, these symptoms are a sign of a condition known as "Dry Eye Syndrome."
What is Dry Eye Syndrome and What Are The Symptoms?
Tears are one of the most essential building blocks of healthy, comfortable eyes. Tears wash away particles, dust and bacteria that can lead to infection and eye damage, as well as keep the eye well lubricated for optimal vision and comfort. Dry eye syndrome occurs when there is a chronic lack of lubrication on the surface of the eye either because not enough tears are being produced, the quality of the tears is weak or they evaporate too quickly. Symptoms include:
- An itching or burning feeling
- Redness, soreness or pain in the eye
- Excessive tearing because the eyes are trying to compensate for the quick evaporation of tears
- Light sensitivity or blurred vision
- Eye fatigue
- Vision seems to change when blinking
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
There are a many different things that can cause Dry Eye Syndrome to develop. Unfortunately, many factors of developing Dry Eye Syndrome are unavoidable, such as factors of age and gender. Women are much more likely to develop Dry Eye Syndrome than men are, and both genders are more likely to develop Dry Eye Syndrome as they get older, especially after the age of 50. Likewise, people with systemic diseases, such as diabetes, thyroid disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus and those with eyelid conditions that prevent the eyelid from closing completely when sleeping or blinking, are also more prone to Dry Eye.
On the other hand, some factors can be controlled when it comes to avoiding Dry Eye symptoms. For instance, research shows that when our eyes are focused on a digital screen, such as that of a computer, smartphone, television or tablet, we tend to blink less. This can lead to quicker evaporation of tears, and resultant discomfort and dryness after long periods of time in front of a digital screen. Similarly, contact lenses, if worn under conditions that contact lens wear is not recommended, or in especially dry conditions, such as during air travel, can also cause dry eye symptoms.
How Are Dry Eye Symptoms Treated?
If you have dry eyes, you don’t need to suffer. There are a number of treatment options that we can help you with at Dr. Martin D. Arkin's Eye Care Clinic in Norwalk, CT. Depending on the severity and cause of your condition, we can take a number of steps which can reduce symptoms and enhance your comfort.
Treatments for dry eyes can include non-prescription or prescription eye drops, omega 3 supplements, special lid therapies, punctal plugs, ointments, different contact lenses, goggles or ergonomic changes to your work station. Speak to your eye doctor to discuss the cause of your dry eye and the best remedy for you. Even when it comes to the seemingly straightforward treatments like over-the-counter eye drops, they aren’t all the same. Different ingredients are tailored towards different causes of dry eye.