What Is Dry Eye Syndrome & How You Can Deal With It
Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that can cause irritation and blurry vision. It’s often accompanied by symptoms like eye pain, redness, and itching. In severe cases, it can lead to infection or damage to the cornea—the outermost layer of the eyeball. But what exactly is dry eye syndrome? And how do you know if you have it? In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about dry eye syndrome: what causes it, how common it is, and how you can treat it.
What Is It?
Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that causes the eyes to produce less tears, which leads to discomfort and potentially blurry vision. It’s often caused by aging, genetics and environmental factors. The Mayo Clinic estimates that about five percent of Americans have dry eye syndrome, but it can be difficult to diagnose because there are many symptoms besides just dryness around your eyes.
Symptoms include redness, itching, burning or stinging in the eyes as well as blurred vision and pain when reading or using the computer for long periods of time—symptoms that may make you think that your glasses prescription needs updating even though you’ve been wearing glasses for years! This can make it hard for some people with this condition who actually do have an incorrect prescription to find out what their real issue is without going through several different doctors who might not know anything about this condition themselves!
Dry eye syndrome can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Too much exposure to wind, sun or other irritants.
- Use of contact lenses for long periods of time.
- Lack of sleep or poor nutrition.
Other causes include environmental conditions such as excessive heat or cold; exposure to cigarette smoke; medications like antihistamines and antidepressants; hormonal changes due to pregnancy, menopause or thyroid disease; lupus (an autoimmune condition), and even cancer treatments like chemotherapy that can affect tear production.
If you have dry eye syndrome, you’ll likely experience symptoms like itching and scratchiness in your eyes. Your eyes may also feel uncomfortable or dry, swollen, gritty and as if they have something in them. In some cases, they may even feel like they are watery or swollen.
There are many different treatment options for dry eye syndrome. For example, you may want to try:
- Over-the-counter eye drops. These will usually work for mild cases of dry eyes and can be purchased at any drugstore or pharmacy.
- Artificial tears (artificial lacrimal punctum plugs). These are made from water and preservatives, but they don’t last as long as prescription medications or over-the-counter drops do because they don’t contain any active ingredients that soften the eyes or reduce inflammation.
- Warm compresses. This technique involves putting a hot cloth over your eyelids for several minutes at a time to help relieve symptoms associated with chronic dryness such as redness and irritation around your eyes; it’s also effective in helping promote healing after surgery involving them (such as LASIK).
- Humidifiers. If you have central heating in your home or office, consider using an electric humidifier to keep air throughout both spaces moistened enough that moisture doesn’t evaporate too quickly from surfaces like furniture pieces where people sit down every day (including couches!). This will help keep nasal passages moistened too so fewer infections occur there due to lack of hydration levels being reached inside them before being able to heal adequately through proper hydration levels being achieved within those areas.”
Dry eye syndrome isn’t as rare as you might think. There are ways to treat it, especially if you catch it early.
It’s a common condition, and there are many causes.
The good news is that dry eye syndrome isn’t a life-threatening condition. It can be treated by several methods, including over-the-counter drops or prescription medications called prostaglandin analogues (like Restasis), which reduce inflammation and increase tear production. If you have severe symptoms, your doctor may recommend punctal plugs—small silicone devices inserted into your tear ducts to prevent tears from draining away too quickly.
If you catch it early enough, chances are good for a full recovery with proper treatment.
We hope that this article has helped shed some light on dry eye syndrome, its causes and treatments. As we mentioned above, it’s not as rare as you might think and it can affect anyone at any age. If you are experiencing dry eye syndrome symptoms or think that you may have them, please contact your doctor for advice immediately!