Are your eyes dry, irritated, or watery? You may be suffering from a condition known as chronic dry eye syndrome. If you are, you’re not alone! Every year millions of Americans are diagnosed with dry eye.
What causes dry eye?
Dry eye is a chronic eye condition. With dry eye, you are either unable to produce enough tears, or the tears produced are low quality.
There are often several factors at play when someone has dry eye. Some of the most common factors include:
- excessive computer use
- health conditions like diabetes and Sjogren’s syndrome
Since it’s difficult to change many of these factors or cut them out completely, what can you do?
Living in a dry or windy place makes you more susceptible to dry eye. Luckily, there are things you can do to help your dry eye. First things first, invest in a humidifier.
Ideally, you should put one in your bedroom or other rooms you spend the most time in. Humidifiers help add missing moisture back into the air, which dry eyes need.
Winter can be one of the most frustrating seasons for people with dry eye. Besides getting a humidifier, avoid direct heat sources.
These include heat pumps, forced heating systems, and hair dryers. Direct heat sources that blow hot air are another way that you may be drying out your eyes!
Excessive computer use and screen time
We live in a digital world, which has negative consequences if you have dry eye. You can’t avoid screens and computers, but you can cut down on how long you use them.
Make sure to take frequent breaks, about every twenty minutes. This means get up and get away from the computer! Let your eyes focus on something nearby for a few seconds that’s not a screen.
Doing this periodically can make a big difference. It may seem silly, but make sure you remember to blink! Blinking is how the eye self-lubricates.
When you’re in front of screens, your blinking rate decreases. This is what causes your eyes to feel dry and scratchy after a long time spent staring at a screen.
Health and medication
If you have a chronic condition like diabetes, it’s something you have to deal with for the rest of your life. If you have dry eye and a chronic condition, the key is keeping it under control.
If you’re a diabetic, this means having a healthy lifestyle and regular blood sugar levels. You may want to consider eating a diet that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids. These are in foods like salmon and leafy green vegetables.
What are the symptoms of dry eye?
With a condition called dry eye, you would assume that if you have dry eye, your eyes are going to be dry. But there are other common symptoms of dry eye including:
- a scratchy feeling in the eyes
- excessive watering
- bloodshot eyes
- dry eyes
- a foreign body sensation like something is in your eye
- burning sensation
- blurred vision
- pain in the eyes
With these symptoms, it may be difficult to know when you actually have dry eye. Often, these symptoms can overlap with other eye conditions.
In these cases, it’s important that you see an eye doctor to determine if there is anything wrong with your eyes.
Can dry eye be treated?
As a prevalent eye condition, you may be wondering if you have to live with the symptoms of dry eye forever. Thankfully, there are various treatment options available if you do have dry eye.
Before starting treatment, your eye doctor will need to test your eyes for dry eye.
This is the only way to know if someone has dry eye. When your eyes are tested for dry eye, it is to test the quality and quantity of tears produced.
If you do have dry eye, the first step is often starting with artificial tears. Artificial tears help replace moisture and lubricant that your eyes are missing.
If you have a more severe case of dry eye, your eye doctor may recommend prescription medications. There are also in-office procedures that can help your eyes create more tears.
Ready to put a stop to dry eye running your life? Schedule a dry eye consultation with Stephenson Eye Associates in Venice, Florida today!