Tears are necessary to keep your eyes healthy. Tears wash any dust or particles out of the eye and keep the eyes moist and comfortable. They also contain enzymes that protect the eyes against microorganisms that are occasionally found in the eye.
When the eyes do not produce sufficient tears, the results are often discomfort such as perpetual dryness, stinging, scratchiness or a foreign body sensation. Ironically, occasionally dry eyes can cause watery eyes in an attempt to compensate for dryness.
A number of factors can result in dry eyes. One factor is age as most individuals that suffer from dry eyes are adults, especially women during menopause. Reduction in tear production is also a result of many medications. Dry or dusty air, and dry heat or air circulation can also be to blame. Additionally, some diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or others, extended staring at a computer or usage of contact lenses can cause dry eyes.
The symptoms associated with dry eye syndrome can often be relieved with the use of artificial tears to add moisture. It’s advisable to consult with your optometrist to make sure you are using the right eye drops in the right way. If over the counter artificial tears aren’t working you may need prescription drops that help your body to produce more tears.
In more serious cases, your eye care professional might want to try Lacrisert, an insert placed inside the eyelid that releases lubricants during the day. You might also want to try punctual plugs which help keep moisture on the eye by reducing the let down of tears. Some optometrists might discuss a few ways for you to modify your environment or your diet to alleviate the symptoms as well.
In the majority of cases, dry eyes do not affect your eyes permanently but can be a nuisance. Nevertheless, severe cases could make you more vulnerable to infection so it is a good idea to consult with your optometrist.
Especially in the wintertime, it would help to try to safeguard your eyes from arid air, biting winds and irritants. Wearing sunglasses when outside, and making use of humidifiers inside to combat dry heat are steps that could help.
If you notice some of the symptoms listed above schedule a visit to your eye doctor right away!