Experiencing persistent dry eyes? Your tear ducts may be out of whack. Normally, eyes are full of tears which provide lubrication and antibodies to help protect your eyes and vision from infection. When your tear system isn’t functioning properly, your eyes can become incredibly dry, itchy, irritated, and inflamed. To get your system back on track, here we’ll discuss the ten most common causes of dry eyes and how to combat them with effective treatment.
As we age, our bodies undergo several changes. One change is that our eyes naturally slow down the tear production process. This can greatly affect eye health as we age, causing symptoms like dry eyes as we grow older. That’s why dry eye disease is most prevalent in elderly people.
A blistery, cold day can often cause the eyes to tear up to compensate for the dry winter wind. So your eyes may overproduce tears in reaction to the dry air.
Many medications can cause dry eyes as a side effect. This includes antihistamines, sleeping pills, pain relievers, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medications, birth control pills, and muscle relaxants.
Some women find that when they enter menopause or become pregnant, they begin to suffer from dry eye syndrome. Often, hormone changes can also impact your eyes. The changes in your sex and thyroid hormones specifically increase your chances of getting dry eyes.
Certain diseases can also impact your ability to create tears. If you have a condition like Sjogren’s syndrome, collagen vascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes, your chance of getting dry eyes greatly increases.
Caffeine decreases the circulation in your blood vessels which can lead to a number of health issues, including dehydration. If you’re a heavy coffee or tea drinker, you may experience dry eyes as a result.
Believe it or not, a hangover can also affect your eye moisture levels. Excessive drinking can leave your body dehydrated since alcohol is a diuretic. So it’s not uncommon for the eyes to dry out, leading to blurred vision and even inflammation. Women who also forget to take off their makeup can wake up with blepharitis, an uncomfortable condition where the rims of the eyelids become swollen and itchy.
Excessive Computer Use
Sitting in front of a computer for extended periods of time can be another culprit of drying out your eyes. When we concentrate on something intensely, we tend to forget to blink, which reduces moisture levels and causes eye strain.
Is your home often dry inside? A decrease in indoor air humidity is also a common cause. Leaving on your air conditioner, ceiling fans, or forced heating systems for hours on end can lower tear evaporation and lead to irritated dryness.
Several eyelid issues can also lead to dry eye syndrome, such as lagophthalmos, which is a condition that prevents the eyelid from properly blinking or closing completely.
How to Treat Dry Eyes
Artificial Tear Drops
The most common treatment for dry eyes is eye drops. These can help add more moisture back to prevent your eyes from drying out. There are a few different products — including prescription or steroid drops — to help promote tear production. So it’s best to talk to your doctor or optometrist to discuss the best option for your condition.
Block Ducts and Unblock Glands
If your situation is severe, your doctor may decide to close off your tear ducts that drain the tears from your eyes. Often, a temporary plug is used before a permanent plug is attempted. A plug is used to increase your tear level by blocking the area where your tears would drain. Your doctor may prefer to use Lipiflow, a medical device designed to unblock blocked glands that produce the oil in your tears. This will help to keep your eyes moist and prevent evaporation of your tears.
Moisture Chamber Glasses
Glasses can protect your eyes from dryness as well. Moisture chamber glass can give you better protection from the dry air inside and cold winter air outdoors. These are designed to rest comfortably around your eye socket to help slow down the evaporation of tears and act as a protective barrier against the elements. You get more eye moisture and less soreness and irritation.
Contact Lenses For Dry Eyes
Many people also suffer from dry eye symptoms when they’re wearing their contacts. Switching to a different type of lens that has been developed to reduce CLIDE (contact lens-induced dry eye symptoms) can make your eyes feel more comfortable.
To learn more about the available treatment methods for you and your dry eye symptoms, contact us at Laurier Optical.