Tears are necessary to keep your eyes healthy. They rinse away any small particles caught in the eye and maintain moisture. They also contain enzymes that eliminate microorganisms that can be found in the eye.
For individuals whose eyes lack sufficient tears, symptoms can present themselves such as persistent feelings of dryness, burning, scratchiness or the feeling of a foreign body in your eye. To the surprise of many, dry eyes occasionally cause watery eyes to try to compensate for inadequate tearing.
Dry eye syndrome can be a result of a several reasons. Dry eyes are often age related as most individuals that suffer from dry eyes are adults, particularly women during menopause. Reduction in tear production can also be a result of many medicines. Dry or dusty air, and dry heat or air circulation are also known to cause or worsen dry eyes. Additionally, certain systemic diseases or problems with tear production, prolonged computer use or usage of contact lenses can cause dry eye syndrome.
The preferred treatment to try is usually artificial tears which work by putting moisture back into the eye. It’s a good idea to speak with your optometrist to know which drops to buy and how to use them. If over the counter artificial tears don’t help you may need Rx drops that stimulate tear production.
If artificial tears don’t help, your optometrist might recommend Lacrisert, an insert placed inside the eyelid that releases lubricating ingredients at various intervals. Another option could be lacrimal plugs which help keep moisture on the eye by restricting tears from draining too quickly. Some eye doctors may discuss a few dietary or environmental modifications to alleviate discomfort.
For the majority of individuals, dry eye syndrome does not cause any sustained damage but can be a nuisance. However, severe cases could make you more susceptible to infection so it is a good idea to consult with your eye doctor.
If you are suffering from some of the symptoms listed above make an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible!