At some point, nearly everyone experiences the uncomfortable feeling of dry eyes. Wintertime is no exception as the chilling winds outside and the blowing dry air from heaters indoors can dry out your eyes. However, for some, dry eye is more than a seasonal annoyance. It can be an ongoing condition that requires management.
Dry eye or ocular surface disease is a common condition that occurs when your eyes do not produce enough of the right kind of lubrication. Your tears are a mixture of water, fatty oils, and mucus, and this complex mixture maintains a healthy surface on your eyes to provide you with clear vision. However, you may experience dry eyes and that’s where we would like to offer our assistance.
The symptoms of dry eye may include stinging or burning sensation in the eyes, blurred vision, watery eyes, sensitivity to light, eye redness, mucus around the eyes, difficulty with contacts, and of course dry eyes. Of course, there are other symptoms as well, but if you are experiencing any of these it may be a good time to ask your optometrist about conducting a comprehensive eye exam to see if you have dry eyes.
Dry eyes are caused by a lack of lubrication as mentioned above, but what causes that? Decreased tear production can be caused by a variety of factors:
- Dry eyes are a part of the natural aging process
- Women are more likely to experience dry eyes than men due to hormonal changes throughout their lives from pregnancy, menopause, or the use of contraceptives
- Medication or medical conditions such as diabetes and arthritis have been known to cause dry eyes
- Environmental conditions such as wind, smoke, high altitudes, and dry conditions can play a big role in the contribution to dry eyes
- Inflammation of the eye or eyelids may also be a factor
Your optometrist will conduct a thorough comprehensive eye exam to determine the cause of your dry eyes. A general medical history will be taken into account to note any factors that may contribute to your dry eyes. Examination of the eye and eyelids to see if there are any complications with your visual health, he or she may also test the quality of your tears so that the best treatment option may be provided to you.
The treatment of dry eyes varies based on the severity, however most moderate to mild cases can be treated with over-the-counter eye drops or artificial tears. For more chronic cases, your optometrist may provide you with medicated eye drops that will increase your tear production. Other treatments may include changes in lifestyle, medication, or even therapy and massage treatments.
Regardless of the cause, we are happy to help relieve your symptoms of dry eyes or any other vision health problems you may be experiencing. For more information about dry eyes and treatment, contact Acworth Family Eyecare today.