Causes of Dry Eyes and How To Treat It
A common problem that our patients are affected by is dry eye syndrome or “dry eyes”. Each time you blink, a thin, film covers the surface of your eyes, providing lubrication and protection. To maintain proper eye health, the film must remain intact between blinks, but some people don’t produce enough tears or their tears lack longevity, causing dry, irritated eyes.
Symptoms of Dry Eyes
During the eye exam, our optometrists can perform a comprehensive examination of your eye surface to determine if you have dry eye syndrome, but there are common symptoms related to this condition that should be brought to our attention during the exam. Examples include:
- Stinging, burning, Itchiness
- Red eyes
- Mucus surrounding the eyelids, especially upon waking
- Vision blur
- Feeling like a particle is in your eye
Dry Eye Syndrome: Potential Causes
Dry eyes can be caused by a variety of factors, but some of the main factors include:
- Age: Tear production is reduced, as you grow older, (part of the natural aging process).
- Gender: Reduction in tears is more common among women, especially women who experience hormonal changes during pregnancy, menopause, or while taking oral contraceptives.
- Medication/pharmaceutical drugs: Certain meds can change the amount of tear fluid being produced.
- Medical Conditions: Medical conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disorders have been associated with reduced tear production.
- Environmental factors: Dry eyes can be caused by dry climates, windy conditions, and direct exposure to irritants like smoke.
- Other causes: Long hours in front of a computer screen, optical surgery, and contact lenses can all contribute to dry eyes.
How to Manage Dry Eyes
The first step to improve or manage dry eye symptoms is to visit our clinic so one of our eye care professionals can diagnose the issue. In the case of chronic dry eyes, our optometrists will decide on the best approach for management or treatment.
If you are suffering from regular discomfort from dry eyes, here are some self-care options that can reduce symptoms:
- If you spend long hours at a computer, remember to blink frequently.
- If your home or work environment is dry, try using a humidifier to increase the humidity to a safe level.
- Always wear sunglasses when you’re outside to protect your eyes from the sun & wind.
- Lastly, some nutritional supplements that contain essential fatty acids, can change the composition of your tears, creating a longer lasting tear film. (Ask our doctors about this before experimenting).
If you are suffering from uncomfortable, irritated dry eyes or you have any questions about general eye health, call or message our eye care clinic. We’re conveniently located in La Pine on HWY 97 and serve all the surrounding areas, so you don’t have to drive all the way to Bend. At La Pine Eyecare Clinic, we want all of our patients to experience life-long eye health. Your eyes can change over time and develop problems that may not be immediately recognizable, so it’s critical to visit our clinic for an annual eye exam, even if you don’t have vision problems.