Tears are necessary for healthy eyes. Tears wash out any small particles that may be in the eye and maintain moisture. Certain enzymes found in tears protect the eyes from microorganisms that are present in the eye on occasion.
In instances where the eyes lack sufficient tears, the results are often discomfort such as constant feelings of dryness, burning, itching or a foreign body sensation. To the surprise of many, dry eyes occasionally cause eyes to water excessively as the eyes try to compensate for inadequate tearing.
Several factors can result in dry eyes. Dry eyes are often age related as most individuals that suffer from dry eyes are adults, and often women going through menopause. Dry eye syndrome can also result from certain medicines. Environmental conditions that are particularly windy, or excessive heating or air conditioning are also known to cause or worsen dry eyes. Additionally, some diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or others, extended sitting in front of a computer screen which can cause insufficient blinking, or use of contact lenses can result in dry eyes.
The symptoms associated with dry eyes can often be alleviated with artificial tears to make up for the lack of natural tears. It’s recommended to check with your optometrist to make sure you are using the right eye drops in the right way. If over the counter drops aren’t working your doctor might prescribe Rx drops that help your body to produce more tears.
When lubricating drops aren’t enough, your optometrist might recommend Lacrisert, an insert placed inside the eyelid that continually releases lubricating ingredients at various intervals. Another option could be punctual plugs which help keep moisture on the eye by reducing the let down of tears. Some optometrists will recommend ways for you to adapt your environment or your diet to lessen discomfort.
For the majority of individuals, dry eye syndrome does not result in any sustained harm but can be an annoyance. Although, very serious cases have a chance of making you more vulnerable to infection so it is advised to speak to your eye doctor.
If you are suffering from dry, itchy, burning eyes, it could be dry eye syndrome so contact your optometrist right away!