Dry Eye Syndrome Explained
01 June 2023
Do your eyes ever feel dry, gritty, or irritated? If so, you might be one of the millions of people around the world that suffer from dry eye syndrome. When your eyes don't produce enough tears, or tears evaporate too quickly, this may lead to discomfort and issues with your vision. Although dry eye is a common condition, it’s often overlooked, with many people suffering from the condition without recognising it as something to be treated.
It may seem like a minor issue, but dry eye syndrome can have a significant impact on your daily life, making it difficult to read, work on your computer, or even drive. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatments of dry eye syndrome, so you can understand the condition better and learn a few ways to find some relief from your symptoms. Whether you're a long-time sufferer or just starting to notice dryness in your eyes, read on to learn more about this common eye condition.
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
There are several factors that can contribute to the development of dry eye syndrome. These include:
- Aging: Tear production decreases as we get older, which can lead to dry eye.
- Hormonal changes: Women are more likely to experience dry eyes due to hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy or menopause.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's syndrome, thyroid disorders, and diabetes can contribute to dry eye syndrome.
- Medications: Some medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, and antidepressants, are likely to cause dry eyes as a side effect.
- Environmental factors: Low humidity, wind, cold weather, smoke and alcohol consumption can all contribute to dry eye syndrome.
Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome
The symptoms of dry eye syndrome vary from person to person. Some common symptoms include:
- Dryness: As the name implies, the most common and easiest symptom to notice of this condition is a feeling of dryness in the eyes.
- Redness: The whites of your eyes may be red or bloodshot.
- Burning or stinging: You might feel a burning or stinging sensation in your eyes.
- Blurred vision: Your vision might become blurry or hazy.
- Sensitivity to light: You may experience discomfort or find it harder to see around bright lights.
- Eye fatigue: Your eyes may feel more tired or fatigued than usual at the end of the day or after long sessions reading or on the computer.
Treatment of Dry Eye Syndrome
The treatment of dry eye syndrome depends on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, over-the-counter artificial tears or lubricating eye drops may be enough to relieve symptoms. In more severe cases, prescription medications or medical procedures may be necessary.
Common treatments for dry eye syndrome include:
- Prescription eye drops: Prescription eye drops can increase tear production and reduce inflammation.
- Tear stimulating medicines: Certain medicines can support and increase tear production and are available as gels, pills, nasal sprays and eye drops.
- Use of heated masks and wands to stimulate the eyes.
- Lifestyle changes: Making changes to your environment, such as using a humidifier, staying well hydrated, limiting your consumption of caffeine and alcohol and avoiding exposure to smoke can help to reduce your symptoms.
If you think you might be experiencing the symptoms of dry eye syndrome, it is important to speak with a certified healthcare professional to determine the best course of action. With the right treatment, most people with dry eye syndrome are able to find relief from their symptoms and maintain good eye health.
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