Tears and Your Eyes
Although you typically think of tears as something that you shed during times of great emotion, your eye is constantly producing tears, and they play a vital role in protecting your eye health and comfort. Tears actually have three components: water, mucus, and oil. The water is what actually hydrates your eye. The mucus helps the water to disperse across your entire eye, and the oil keeps the water from evaporating too quickly. When there is a problem with any one of these layers, you may develop dry eye.
What Causes Dry Eye?
Dry eye can result from a number of factors.
- Age is the most common cause for the condition. As you age, your eyes may not be able to produce enough tears. Most men and women over age 65 struggle with at least some of the symptoms of dry eye.
- Hormonal changes can lead to a decrease in tear production. Therefore, pregnant and post-menopausal women often suffer from this condition.
- Certain medical problems, including diabetes and lupus, can cause dry eye. Additionally, eye conditions such as drooping eyelids can also lead to excessive dryness.
- Birth control pills, diuretics, beta-blockers, and other medications can cause dry eye.
- If you work outdoors, spend a lot of time in a windy environment, or frequently use the computer, you may also struggle with this condition.
Dry Eye Symptoms
Signs of dry eye include:
- Irritation and redness
- An itchy and/or burning sensation
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
You may be surprised to learn that excessive tearing is actually a symptom of dry eye. Because your eyes are not producing enough moisture, they will try to compensate with an over-production of tears. Unfortunately, your eyes cannot hold this much moisture at once, and, as the tears drain away, your eyes remain irritated and itchy.
Based on your symptoms and the severity of your condition, our doctors will find the right treatment for your needs. They will typically begin with a non-invasive method, such as over-the-counter or prescription eye drops. Increasing your intake of fatty acids (found in fish oil and flaxseed oil) can also help to stimulate tear production. When dry eye results from blocked oil glands, applying warm compresses to your eyes can remove the blockage and prevent tears from evaporating too quickly. If you do not respond to these conservative treatments, your doctor may recommend tear duct plugs. By placing these tiny silicone devices inside your tear ducts, your doctor can prevent moisture from draining from your eye so rapidly.
Find the Relief You Need
Whatever the cause of your dry eye, we have a treatment to meet your needs. Contact EyeCare 20/20 Retina & Vision Center today and schedule your appointment.