Your eyes need tears to stay healthy. They flush any dust or particles out of the eye and keep the eyes moist and comfortable. Certain enzymes found in tears guard the eyes against microorganisms that are found in the eye.
In instances where the eyes have insufficient 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 often can cause eyes to water excessively if the eyes over-stimulate tear production to make up for inadequate tearing.
Several causes can contribute to dry eye syndrome. The first factor is age as most individuals that suffer from dry eyes are adults, especially women during menopause. Reduction in tear production can also result from certain medicines. Climate that is particularly dusty, or excessive heating or air conditioning can also be to blame. In addition, certain systemic diseases or deficiencies in tear production, extended computer use which can limit blinking, or usage of contact lenses can contribute to dry eyes.
The preferred treatment option is usually lubricating eye drops which work by adding moisture. Your optometrist can tell you which eye drops to buy and how to use them. If over the counter artificial tears don’t help you may need prescription drops that enhance tear production.
If eye drops don’t help, your eye doctor might opt for Lacrisert, which is placed on the eyelid and continually lets out lubricants at various intervals. You may also want to try punctual plugs which help keep moisture on the eye by keeping tears from draining too rapidly. Some eye care professionals will recommend dietary or environmental changes to alleviate the symptoms as well.
In the majority of cases, dry eyes do not result in any sustained harm but can be a discomfort. Although, severe dry eyes have a chance of making you more vulnerable to infection so it is a good idea to consult with your optometrist.
If you are feeling symptoms of dry eye schedule a visit to your eye doctor right away!