Dry eye syndrome is a condition when the tear film can’t adequately lubricate and moist your eyes. The cause of eye dryness is either your eyes don’t produce enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly.
The signs of dry eye range from mild or subtle irritation to severe discomfort described as itching, sore, dry, or burning feeling.
If your eyes are easily tired for reading or watching TV chances are you suffer from dry eye problems. When you’re watching interesting TV program, for example, your blinking frequency decreases. The blinking frequency reduction provides more time for the tear film to evaporate, which then results in the formation of dry spots on the corneal surface.
For mild to moderate dry eye sometimes you may not notice any symptoms until eye doctors fit you with contact lenses. In this case the symptom is contact lenses intolerance. The placement of a contact lens can change the balance of tear film production and distribution that leads to lens intolerance.
Causes Of Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome has several causes:
- One reason for dryness is the natural aging process. As you grow older, your body produces less oil, which also affects the tear film. Without adequate oil as a seal of the watery layer, the tear film evaporates much faster, leaving dry areas on the cornea.
- If you live in a dry or windy climate, or in an air conditioning system, that too can dry out your eyes.
- Another cause of dry eye is when you’re working on a computer all day and you don’t sufficiently blink.
- Contact lens wearers may also suffer from dryness because the contacts absorb the tear film, causing proteins to form on the surface of the lens. Dry eye syndrome makes contact lenses feel uncomfortable, and the rubbing of the lenses against the conjunctiva seems to be a cause of dry eyes.
Treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome
Treating dry eye syndrome is essential not only for comfort, but also for the health of your eyes. Depending on the causes of dry eye, there are several treatment methods for dry eye syndrome.
- The simplest thing you can do is a little bit changing your daily habit. For example, you may want to make a conscious effort to blink frequently — when reading, working on a computer, or watching TV. If your eyes feel itchy, don’t rub your eyes since this only worsens the irritation.
- Providing adequate lubricating qualities to your eyes are another option. Your eye doctors may cure the dryness of your eyes by prescribing artificial tears. If you suffer severe dry eye restasis eyedrops may suit your needs. Alternatively, if the dryness is mild you may use contact lens rewetting drops. However, if you have already worn contact lenses, you need to remove them before using the lubricating eye drops.
- If the cause is environmental based, you can wear sunglasses when doing outdoor activities. With a special seal at the top, bottom, and sides sunglasses can prevent wind and dust from getting to your eyes. If you work in an air-conditioning room, you may need an air cleaner to filter out dust, and a humidifier to add moisture to air.
- Closing the opening of the tear drain in the eyelid with temporary or permanent plugs is another option. The plug, also called punctal plug, traps the tears and keeps your eye moist. Your eye care practitioner can insert it into your eye painlessly.
- If the cause is your contact lenses, your eye care professionals may suggest you to switch to a different lens, such as proclear multifocal. In a few cases, they may recommend that you discontinue wearing contact lens until the dry eye problem is cleared up.
- If you are considering any type of laser eye surgery dry eye syndrome may disqualify you for the surgery. Dry eyes increase your risk for poor healing after eye surgery. So, to ensure a good eye surgery outcome, your eye surgeon may want to treat the dry eyes first.