What is dry eye syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is a lack of lubrication and moisture in the eye. Ironically, patients who have dry eyes often have excessive tearing.
What are the symptoms of dry eye?
- Burning eyes
- Scratchy, gritty eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Dry eyes
- Excessive tears or watery eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Red eyes
- Contact lens discomfort
What are the causes of dry eye?
- Natural aging process - As we age, the production of tears diminishes. At age 65, we produce about 60% fewer tears than we did at age 18. Almost all people tend to get drier eyes as they get older.
- Contact lenses - Wearing contact lenses is one of the leading causes of dry eye, due to the increase in tear evaporation resulting in irritation.
- Disruption of blinking - Since blinking helps lubricate the eye by spreading tears, any disruption of blinking, which can occur with reading and computer work, may result in dry eye.
- Medications - Antihistamines, decongestants, heart medication, birth control pills, certain blood pressure medicines and antidepressants can also cause dry eye.
- Environmental Factors - Sun, wind, smoke and air conditioners can also cause dry eye.
Although there is no known cure for dry eye, here are some simple steps you can take to keep your eyes lubricated this winter season:
- Over-the-counter artificial tears and ointments can be helpful to provide moisture and lubrication for the surface of your eye (available at your local pharmacy).
- Use a humidifier
- Avoid excessive air movement by decreasing the speed of ceiling and oscillating fans.
- Remember to blink when reading, watching TV or working on the computer
- When driving point the air vents away from your eyes
If chronic dry eye symptoms persist, prescription eye drops may help, contact TLC Eyecare & Laser Centers to learn more at 877.852.8463 or www.tlceyecare.com.