Dry Eye Syndrome
Relieve your dry eye symptoms. Determining the cause of dry eye syndrome is the first step toward overcoming its symptoms and getting on with your active life.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition occurring when the body’s natural tear system does not provide adequate moisture to the eyes. There are many reasons tears may be inadequate, including poor tear quality or an inability to produce enough tears.
Dry eyes may be persistent, and certain situations like bike riding, being on an airplane, sitting in the air-conditioning, or continually viewing a computer screen may aggravate the condition. Those with severe allergies may experience dry eyes more regularly.
Dry Eye Symptoms
- Stinging, burning, or scratchy sensation
- Stringy mucus in or around the eye
- Increased irritation
- Eye fatigue
- Light sensitivity
- Eye redness
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Occasional excessive tearing
- Blurry vision worsening throughout the day or after prolonged periods of focus
The eyes’ surfaces are kept smooth and clear by a tear mixture, which also protects eyes’ from infection. The mixture consist of mucus, fatty oils, and water. For some, dry eye is caused by an imbalance in tear composition.
Alternatively, some people do not produce enough tears to comfortably lubricate their eyes. Risk factors for inadequate tear production include:
- Over 50 years of age or postmenopausal
- Medical conditions that decrease tear production such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus
- Past eye surgeries such as LASIK
- Tear gland damage
Dry eye is a side affect of some medications including high blood pressure medication; antihistamines; decongestants; hormone replacement therapy; antidepressants; and acne treatments.
Environmental factors can also lead to dry eye including wind; dry air; and tasks that require enough concentration that blinking is decreased, such as driving, reading, or working on a computer.
Over the counter eye drops, like artificial tears, are generally sufficient for those with occasional or mild dry eye. For more severe cases, ointments may be prescribed, or your doctor may focus on treating the underlying condition.