When your eyes don’t produce enough tears to stay wet or when your tears don’t function properly, dry eye occurs. Your eyes may feel irritated as a result, and in some cases, vision issues may result.
Every year, millions of people suffer from dry eye. The good news is that there are many things you can do if you have dry eyes to maintain your eyes healthy and pleasant.
What are the symptoms of dry eye?
- A scratchy feeling as though something is in your eye
- Burning or stinging feeling in your eyes
- Red eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Blurry vision
Am I at risk for dry eye?
- Anyone can develop dry eyes, however, some factors may increase your risk, including:
- Are at least 50 years old
- Are female
- Put on contacts.
- Do not consume enough omega-3 fatty acids or vitamin A, which are both found in foods like carrots, broccoli, and liver (found in fish, walnuts, and vegetable oils)
- Suffer from autoimmune diseases such as lupus or Sjogren syndrome.
What causes dry eye?
Tears are often produced by glands above the eyes to keep the eyes moist. When your tears fail to do their job, dry eye occurs. This may indicate:
- Not enough tears are produced by your glands to keep your eyes moist.
- Your tears dry up too quickly
- Your tears simply aren’t effective enough to keep your eyes moist.
What’s the treatment for dry eye?
The cause of your symptoms will usually determine how to treat your dry eye. Many different types of treatment are available to help you feel better and maintain the health of your eyes.
Over-the-counter eye drops. Artificial tears are a form of eye drop that is most frequently used to treat mild dry eyes. These eye drops are available over the counter. Also, there are over-the-counter moisturizing gels and ointments that could provide some relief for your eyes.
Prescription medicines. Your eye doctor might prescribe you cyclosporine (Restasis) or lifitegrast if your dry eye condition is more severe (Xiidra). Both of these medications are eye drops that can encourage your eyes to produce more tears.
Lifestyle changes. Your doctor could recommend changes to help protect your eyes if something in your life or environment is causing your dry eye.
Your doctor could advise you to try a different medication, for instance, if one that you are taking for another medical issue is causing dry eyes.
It might also help your eyes if you:
- Try to stay away from air conditioning, wind, and smoke.
- Use a humidifier to prevent your home’s air from becoming too dry
- Set limits on screen time and take breaks from it.
- When outside, put on a pair of sunglasses with a rim.
- Try to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water per day.
- Sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours each night.
Tear duct plugs. If your tears are evaporating too quickly, your doctor may advise inserting punctual plugs, which are specific plugs, into your tear ducts (small holes in the inner corners of your eyes). These plugs can block tears from running out of your eyes.
Surgery. When your lower eyelids are too loose, tears may drain from your eyes too quickly, which can lead to dry eyes. Your eye doctor may recommend surgery to fix your eyelids and assist your tears in staying in your eyes if this is the reason for your dry eye. This type of treatment is rare.