Are your eyes itchy, dry, or watery? Do they water uncontrollably or make you uncomfortable for what seems like no reason at all?
These are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome, which is a chronic condition that affects millions of people every year. Our expert ophthalmologists at VisionCare Associates in East Lansing are highly qualified and can help you get relief from dry eye syndrome.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition that occurs when you do not have enough tears. This is usually either due to the tears produced being low-quality or the eye does not produce enough tears to cover the surface of the eye.
Tears are necessary because they keep the front surface of the eye healthy, as well as provide clear vision. When someone has dry eye syndrome, it often causes more than just dry eyes to occur.
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome to Develop?
The most common cause of dry eye syndrome is that the eyes do not produce enough tears, or those tears are low in quality. Other reasons for dry eye include:
If you are in a windy, smoky, or particularly dry environment, this can increase the rate that your tears evaporate at.
For those that are over the age of 65, they are more likely to experience symptoms of dry eye syndrome because of the natural aging process.
Some medications, like antihistamines, decongestants, and antidepressants, can reduce the number of tears that your eyes produce, leading to dry eye syndrome.
Because of hormonal changes due to pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and menopause, women are more likely to suffer from dry eye syndrome symptoms.
Certain Medical Conditions
If you have certain medical conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or Sjogren’s syndrome, you are more likely to have dry eye syndrome.
If you do have dry eye syndrome, it is important to figure out the root of what is causing your symptoms to treat them most effectively.
What are the symptoms of dry eye syndrome?
Although it would seem like having dry eye syndrome would mean your eyes are dry, there are other symptoms you may experience as well. Common symptoms include:
- A burning sensation in your eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Blurry vision
- Eyes that water uncontrollably
- Aching eyes
- Experiencing a foreign body sensation like something is in your eye
- Light sensitivity
For those with dry eye syndrome, they may experience some of the above symptoms, or only dry eyes. The severity of your symptoms depends on how long dry eye syndrome goes untreated as well.
Are There Treatment Options for Dry Eye Syndrome?
Although dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition, there are plenty of treatment options available to treat it. The first step is to be diagnosed with the eye condition.
Once diagnosed, your eye doctor can then determine the root cause of your symptoms. The first treatment option that ophthalmologists often recommend is to make small lifestyle changes.
This can include adding more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet (with foods like tuna, walnuts, and spinach), drinking more water, and limiting the amount of time you spend in front of screens. If these things do not help, you may be told to try using artificial tears to increase lubrication in your eyes.
Another option is to try punctal plugs, which come in temporary and permanent versions. Punctal plugs are small inserts placed in the tear ducts. This helps block drainage and keeps tears on the surface of the eye for longer.
It may take several different combinations before you find a successful treatment option for your dry eye symptoms.
Concerned that you may have dry eye syndrome? VisionCare Associates can help. Schedule an appointment with us in East Lansing, MI to discuss your dry eye symptoms.
Our team will come up with a plan to treat your symptoms and get your eyes back to normal.