If your eyes burn, sting, or feel gritty, it could be due to dry eyes. The condition occurs when the eyes fail to produce enough tears to remain moist. Tears help keep the eye surface smooth, healthy, and well lubricated. They wash away debris, protecting the eyes from infection. Dry eye can be due to clogged eyelid glands, some medications, and certain diseases. Some people have dry eyes due to allergies.
The eye’s outer layer has a protective tear film. Glands located along the eyelid produce tears throughout the day. The tears help keep the eye’s moisture level balanced. The film is essential for clear vision and comfort.
Some individuals do not produce enough tears to keep their eyes comfortable and wet. It leads to feelings of dryness, a scratchy sensation, burning, and the sensation of something in the eye. This common problem is known as dry eye syndrome.
If your eyes fail to produce sufficient tears to keep the eyes moist, it can lead to dry eyes. Dryness may also occur if the eyes do not produce good-quality tears. To keep your eyes comfortable, you need to know what is causing the dryness.
A diagnosis will help determine if you have dry eye syndrome. Treating the underlying cause can help improve comfort. The doctor may prescribe medications to stop tears from draining too fast or to help increase tear production.
Dry eye is often a result of aging. Tear production reduces as people age, causing the eyes to feel dry. The condition affects more women than men due to hormonal changes. Other causes of the condition include:
Health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, lupus, and Graves’ disease
Hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause
Dry indoor environment
Prolonged contact lens use
Reduced blinking when using digital devices for long periods
Certain medications, such as antihistamines, tranquilizers, birth control pills, heart medications, and diuretics
There are various treatments for dry eye disease. Doctors consider the underlying condition and the severity of the condition. Options include OTC and prescription eye drops or ointments, punctal plugs to reduce tear drainage, and special contact lenses. Thermal pulsation therapy can help unblock oil glands. Intense pulsed light therapy can help relieve severe dry eye. Treating underlying health conditions, or evaluating medications, can improve eye health.
Several home remedies can help relieve dry eye symptoms. They include:
Regular cleaning of the eyelids
Eliminating dust and dryness. Use a humidifier and filter indoors
Eating a healthy diet. Increase intake of foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids
Blinking more frequently when using the computer
Stay well hydrated. Drinking water keeps the eyes moist
Wear sunglasses to shield your eyes from sunlight and wind
If your eyes feel dry and uncomfortable, visit an eye doctor to learn the cause. If you have dry eye, the doctor can recommend the best treatment. Schedule regular eye exams to maintain healthy eyes.
For more information on dry eyes, visit Lifetime Vision and Eye Care at our Miami Gardens, Florida office. Call (305) 902-3320 to schedule an appointment today.