Everyone’s eyes have felt dry at some point. While passing moments of dry eye may not really spell trouble, the long-lasting version is another story. Dry eye symptoms may be never-ending, recurrent, and severe.
If you have dry eye your eyes may not be making enough tears, or your tears evaporate too fast. This could also mean that your eye has an injury or a bacterial infection. Although dry eye is painful and uncomfortable, its symptoms rarely cause lasting vision loss.
Dry eye may trigger various issues with your eyes. These include:
Burning or stinging feeling in your eye
Redness or pain
Itchy feeling like there is sand in your eye
Mucus discharge close to the eye
Eye fatigue or temporary blurry vision
Many people experiencing dry eyes also report their eyelids feeling heavy. See your eye doctor if you experience any of the symptoms above.
Dry eye is common, but you are more likely to develop dry eye if you:
Are above 50 years old
Use contact lenses
Have had refractive eye surgery
Eat foods low in vitamin A (find vitamin A in carrots, broccoli, liver, vegetable oils, fish, and walnuts)
Your eye doctor can diagnose dry eye through a comprehensive eye exam. If the results from the eye exam show that you have dry eye, your doctor will recommend suitable treatment options.
OTC medications, such as artificial tears and ointments, can provide temporary relief for mild cases of dry eye. Just be sure to use them safely according to the guidelines given by the manufacturer and the eye doctor.
Improper use or overuse of OTC medications for dry eye may complicate the symptoms.
Moderate to severe cases of dry eye requires prescription therapies. Treatment will depend on what is causing your dry eye. Your eye doctor can prescribe eye drops that either reduce swelling around your eyes or improve tear production.
Also, your eye doctor can prescribe a special type of contact lens, called scleral lenses, that can help lubricate your eyes.
In more extreme cases of dry eye, surgery may be necessary. Your eye doctor may need to permanently close ducts that draw tears off your eye. Once closed, tears produced by your tear glands can stay around your eye.
Sometimes, dry eye may happen when your eyelids are too baggy, causing tears to flow out from your eyes too fast. If that is causing your dry eye, your doctor may recommend eyelid surgery.
Making various changes to your lifestyle can help control dry eye. Wearing protective sunglasses outdoors and taking omega-3 supplements can help improve tear production. Likewise, increasing moisture in the air at work or home and drinking enough water can help keep your eyes lubricated. Warm compresses can help reduce swelling around your eyes. Talk to your doctor before taking new supplements or vitamins.
For more on dry eye symptoms and treatment options, visit My Vision at our office in Center Valley, Pennsylvania. You can also call (484) 265-9100 to schedule an appointment today.