Dry eyes are not an uncommon problem. In fact, it’s one of the most common eye conditions that many people experience as they grow older. It is a result of tear production or lack thereof. There are several factors that can lead to dry eyes, such as allergies, certain medications, and even seasonal changes. Fortunately, there are effective treatments that can ease the symptoms of dry eyes and prevent its recurrence in the future. To know more about this condition and ways to cope with it read on…
Dry Eyes: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
When you have dry eyes, it feels like something is constantly irritating them. Even though it doesn’t always feel that way, the truth is your eyes actually are irritated all the time.
That’s because when you have dry eyes, there isn’t enough moisture in your tears to keep them from getting overly dried out. These common eye conditions can make your eyes feel scratchy, itchy and painful at different times of the year.
While it may seem like there isn’t much you can do to help ease the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eyes, there are a number of treatment options available that can relieve some of your pain and irritation. Here we will look at some effective methods for managing and treating dry eyes naturally.
What Is A Dry Eye?\nA dry eye is a health condition in which the eye is not producing enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly.\nThe tear film that covers the eye is essential for good vision and eye health. Dry eyes occur when the eye’s tear film is deficient or compromised in some way, leading to discomfort and potential damage to the eye.
The tear film consists of three layers. The outermost layer is the epithelium, or the cornea. The middle layer is the tear film itself, consisting of an oily substance (lipid layer), water, antibodies and inflammatory cells. The innermost layer is the mucus layer, which traps the eye’s shed cells and keeps them from entering the bloodstream.
How Do You Know if You Have Dry Eyes?
The best way to tell if you have dry eyes is to go to your eye doctor and get a thorough eye exam. But there are some common symptoms you can look out for, including:
– Dryness – Your eyes may feel scratchy, grainy or as if you’re looking through sand. These symptoms also can be a sign of other eye problems, so don’t take them as a sure sign that you have dry eyes. – Irritation
– Eyes are a very sensitive part of the body, so if you have dry eyes you may experience some irritation. You’re likely to feel the irritation while you’re awake, but it may be worse when your eyes are closed.
– Grittiness – Your eyes may feel sandy or gritty. – Stinging – Your eyes may start to water and sting. – Redness – Your eyes may feel scratchy, grainy or as if you’re looking through sand.
– Eye Discharge – Some people experience an increased amount of eye discharge if they have dry eyes. This could be an allergic reaction to dust, pollen or other allergens.
– Blurred Vision – Dry eyes can cause blurry vision and even worsen existing issues like nearsightedness and farsightedness. – Excessive Sweating – If you suffer from hyperhidrosis, you could experience even more discomfort from dry eyes.
Dry Eye Causes
There are many different causes of dry eyes, including health conditions like diabetes and certain medications like birth control pills, steroids and medication for asthma. Lifestyle choices and environmental factors can also lead to dry eyes.
– Age – As you age, the eyes produce less tears, making you more susceptible to dry eyes. Dry eye is the most common eye problem after vision loss.
– Medications – Some medications can cause dry eyes as a side effect, while others can cause dry eyes as a primary problem. People who are on certain steroids, blood pressure medications, antidepressants and anticonvulsants are more likely to experience dry eyes. Certain hormone therapies used to treat issues like menopause and hot flashes can cause dry eyes as well.
– Health Conditions – Some health conditions like diabetes and Sjogren’s syndrome can cause dry eyes.
– Lifestyle Choices – Smoking tobacco, particularly cigars and cigarettes, can cause dry eye. Eating a diet low in vitamins and minerals can also cause dry eyes, as can avoiding eye drops designed to help with dry eyes.
– Environmental Factors – Some environmental factors can also cause dry eyes, including air conditioning, wind and sun exposure.
Tips to Manage and Treat Dry Eyes Naturally
– Use Over-The-Counter Eye Drops – Over-the-counter eye drops are designed to relieve dry eyes and help you get the moisture you need. Depending on the severity of your dry eyes, you may have to use drops a few times a day, or even every hour or two. You should also see your eye doctor who will recommend a prescription ophthalmic eye drop or ointment.
– Stay Hydrated – Proper hydration is important for your eyes. If you have dry eyes, you can get better results by drinking water with a higher mineral content, such as spring water. You can also try using a humidifier in your home to increase the amount of moisture in the air.
– Sleep With Your Head Elevated – While you sleep, the flow of tears from your eyes is reduced. This is why sleeping with your head elevated can help with the treatment of dry eyes.
– Manage Environment – Some ways of managing your environment can also help with treating your dry eyes. Make sure you wear sunglasses when you go outside and when you’re exposed to sunlight. Also, avoid smoking and consider using a humidifier in your home.
Dry Eye Medications
– Artificial Tears – Artificial tears are the most common treatment for dry eyes. They provide your eyes with the essential moisture they need to stay healthy and comfortable. You can get them at any pharmacy and they typically come in a variety of flavours to suit your personal taste.
– Prescription Eye Drops – Ophthalmologists can prescribe eye drops that are more effective at treating dry eyes than over-the-counter drops. These types of eye drops contain steroids, which are helpful for reducing inflammation and increasing the amount of tears your eyes produce.
– Eye Ointments – An ophthalmologist may prescribe an eye ointment to help clear up an infection in your eyes. These medications, which are put directly into your eyes, are also helpful for treating dry eyes.
– Oral Hygiene – Oral hygiene is very important when you have dry eyes. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and using a mouthwash can help to clear up any infections in your mouth and reduce the amount of bacteria found in your tear duct. This can help to reduce the severity of your dry eyes.
– Vitamin and Mineral Supplements – Certain vitamins and minerals can help to keep your eyes healthy and moist. Some of these include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Zinc.
– Flaxseed – Flaxseed has a high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your eyes. Make sure you’re buying whole flaxseed and not ground flaxseed. You can grind up the flaxseed yourself or buy pre-ground flaxseed from a health shop.
– Herbal Teas – Herbal teas are a great way to get your daily vitamins and minerals. Fresh mint, rosemary and sage teas are great for your eyes because of the vitamins and minerals found in them.
Laser Treatment for Dry Eyes
Laser treatment is most effective for people with moderate to severe dry eyes. It is a non-invasive procedure that uses light energy to stimulate the tear glands. You’ll start to notice results within one to two weeks after the procedure is done. These results last for as long as six months.
Before you decide to have laser treatment for dry eyes, make sure you consult a doctor. These treatments can be expensive, so you’ll want to make sure they’re right for you before you commit to them. Laser treatment can be a good option for many people with dry eyes, but it won’t work for everyone. Before you decide to have laser treatment for dry eyes, be sure to talk to your eye doctor about it. He or she can help you decide if it’s a good option for you.
Dry eyes can be a common problem for many people, but that does not mean that it should be ignored! Having dry eyes can be very uncomfortable and can even cause damage to your eyes if