Dry Eyes: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
We need tears to keep our eyes wet and protect them from dust and other stuff that shouldn’t be there. Dry eye happens when we don’t have enough of these tears, or the tears aren’t of a good enough quality to protect our eyes. Many people get dry eyes. Read on to discover the symptoms of dry eye and what you can do about it.
What causes dry eyes?
Your tears should consist of oils, mucus and watery (aqueous) fluid. If there is too much or too little of one of these elements, it can lead to dry eyes.
Dry eyes can be caused by:
- Windy, dry air
- Medications such a antidepressants and acne treatments
- Contact lens use
- Air-conditioning and heated rooms
- Certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren’s syndrome
- Meibomian gland dysfunction or blepharitis
- Staring at a computer screen for prolonged periods, especially if you aren’t taking breaks
You are more likely to experience dry eye symptoms if you are a woman, or over 50 years old.
Dry eye symptoms
Dry eyes and dry eye symptoms can be unpleasant. Your eyes may feel swollen and you might have problems seeing.
Once you know you have a dry eye condition, you can treat it.
The most common symptoms of dry eye are:
- Red, itchy eyes
- A scratchy feeling
- Stinging or burning in your eyes
Other common symptoms include:
- Sensitivity light
- Watery eyes
- Blurred vision
- Foreign body sensation in your eyes
- Difficulty with focusing during reading or computer work
Dry eye treatment
When we have established that you have dry eye, we will be able to help you treat it.
Dry eye can be quite simple to treat, with options such as eye drops, gels and ointments.
You can make some lifestyle changes to help your eyes get back to normal such as:
- Adjusting your computer so you can directly look at the screen
- Resting your eyes by taking breaks from activities that cause you to strain your eyes
- Getting enough sleep at night
- Reducing contact lens wear
- Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to help with eye health and dry eye syndrome.
If your dry eye is severe and other treatment options haven’t helped, then some of our procedures might be better for you. Temporary, or longer-lasting tear duct plugs (punctal plugs) are one option. These plugs prevent tears from draining down your tear duct.
Depending on your needs, your eye specialist may also suggest meibomian gland expression, BlephEx or IPL therapy.
Book an appointment
Dry eyes can lead to inflammation, eye damage, and infections, so pay attention to dry eye symptoms.
Book an appointment with our eye specialist to receive a thorough assessment of your eye.
We will arrange any necessary tests to determine the cause of your symptoms so you can make an informed decision about your eye care.