Dry Eye – All You Need to Know
An Overview for Eyeglass and Contact Lens Wearers
If your eyes are feeling ‘dried out, burning, ‘scratchy’, itchy or sensitive to light, you may be experiencing ‘dry eye syndrome’. Dry eye is a medical condition whereby the eye does not keep the standard layer of tears in your eyes, resulting in an irritating, ‘dry’ feeling.
Did you know that this lack of moisture and tears may not only inflame your eye’s surface, it may expose your eyes to bacterial infection and potential corneal damage?
Although it rarely causes permanent loss of vision, dry eye syndrome certainly causes discomfort. According to a recent study, more than 4.88 million Americans suffer from this condition, especially those above 50 years in age. But there are many treatments available and for that reason, you shouldn’t suffer needlessly.
|If your eyes sting or burn, visit an eye center like our own World Eyeglasses in Fort Lauderdale for assistance. Call (954) 491-7141 or click here.|
This condition generally occurs when your eyes can’t produce enough tears, or the quality of tear is not good enough to keep your eyes moist. Besides keeping your eyes moist, tears help in protecting the cornea from irritants such as germs and bacteria.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred vision
- Fatigue and excessive dryness
The Importance of Tears
Tears are a mixture of fatty oils, mucus and water. The mixture forms an added layer in your eyes, making them smooth and clear. The additional layer blocks irritants such as bacteria and germs from reaching the eye. If one of these elements is less than required amount, you are more likely to suffer from dry eyes. For example, the meibomian gland (the small glands situated at the end of the eyelids) become clogged, production of oil film with go down. Blockage of these glands is common in people suffering from skin disorders, blepharitis or rosacea.
Reduced Tear Production Over Time
As you age, tear production reduces. Other factors, such as chronic illness can decrease tear production as well. Some of these illnesses include rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, lupus, vitamin A deficiency and thyroid disorders, among other causes.
In addition, some medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, home replacement therapy and hypertension drugs can contribute to dry eye.
Prevention and Treatment
Dry eye syndrome is preventable, especially if it is a result of irritants such as smoke at work. If you work in a smoky area, you need to get protective eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Also, if the problem is as a result of spending a lot of time in light such as working with a computer, you need to visit a reputable eye care center where you will get quality eyeglasses.
Dry, windy conditions can also contribute to the problem. The remedy is getting high quality sunglasses.
If you wear contacts and have dry eyes, or you may be suffering from contact lens induced dry eyes (CLIDE). You may need to consider getting silicone-based hydrogel lenses or disposable contacts. If your eyes itch a lot, consider visiting an eye center to check whether your contact lenses need to be adjusted. If your lenses are too tight for example, they will prevent tears from getting in below them.
Dry eye is a chronic condition; hence it can only be managed. If itching and burning are persistent or interfering with your vision, it is prudent to seek the advice of an optometrist and perhaps receive prescription medication. The standard type of medication prescribed is artificial tears. If the condition is severe, your doctor may recommend eye surgery.
If you’d like a complimentary consultation on this or any other eye care issue, contact us today by calling (954) 491-7141 or click here for an appointment.