What You Need to Know About Chronic Dry Eyes
Chronic dry eyes is an uncomfortable but common condition of the eyes characterized by burning or scratching sensations. You may experience eye redness or sensitivity to light, and it can be difficult even to put in your contact lenses. Fortunately, dry eyes are treatable and preventable as long as you know what steps to take.
Chronic Dry Eyes – Causes
Dry eyes occur as a result of inadequate tear production. Tears play an important role in eye health, as they keep your eyes clear and smooth while preventing infection. Decreased tear production can occur for a variety of reasons, including:
- Tear gland damage
- Medical conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid disorders, and several others
- Medications, including antihistamines, antidepressants, high blood pressure medications
In some cases, the problem isn’t that your eyes aren’t producing enough tears. Instead, you may experience an increase in tear evaporation. Windy conditions or dry air can cause tears to evaporate faster than normal, as can blinking less often when reading or focusing on a computer screen.
Chronic Dry Eyes – Treatments
For the most part, occasional dry eyes aren’t a major concern. You can treat the problem with over-the-counter eye drops. However, if your symptoms are more severe or persistent, there are other options available, most of which involve treating the underlying cause of the problem. For example, if your dry eyes are the side effect of a medication that you are taking for another condition, your doctor may be able to recommend a different treatment that doesn’t produce dry eyes. Prescription medications are also available, including drugs to control inflammation of the cornea or eyelid.
Preventing Chronic Dry Eyes
While there are treatments available to correct dry eyes, there are also ways that you can avoid the problem before it occurs. If you are prone to dry eyes, consider some of these preventive measures to keep your eyes moist:
- Add moisture to the air with a humidifier
- Don’t direct blowing air from hair dryers, air conditioners, or fans directly at your eyes
- Wear sunglasses when out in windy conditions
- Take breaks when participating in activities that require extended periods of visual concentration
- Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke
- Regularly use artificial tears to keep your eyes well lubricated
Test For Dry Eyes
Looking Glass Optical has the equipment to test for dry eyes, and it’s 100% painless. The machine takes pictures of your glands that produce tears. By analyzing the images, the optometrist can determine if your glands are swollen, or not producing tears. You don’t have to live with the discomfort of dry, itchy eyes. If you are experiencing chronic dry eyes and can’t find a solution that works for you, we can help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.