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Dry Eyes

Dry eyes take place when the eyes do not produce sufficient tears or they produce tears that cannot keep the eyes moist effectively. Tears can help to keep proper moisture in your eyes and keep the surfaces of your eye smooth, wash away foreign materials and protect eyes from kind of infection.

Dry eyes may burn or strong and can get uncomfortable. You might suffer from dry eyes all the time or during certain situations only. For example, you may have dry eyes after staring at your computer for a long time or when it is windy outside. Both the eyes may be affected at the same time. Eye dryness affects most people at some point of time in their life. It is a rare and serious problem and can be treated when you see your eye doctor.

Different types of dry eyes

  • Aqueous Tear-Deficient Dry Eye – The lacrimal glands of your eyes fail to deliver sufficient of middle aqueous layer of tears. This can be the reason for low production of tears.
  • Evaporative Dry Eye – The meibomian glands of eyes do not produce strong outer lipid layer of tears causing your eyes to evaporate quickly.

Symptoms of Dry Eyes

  • Itchiness, burning or stinging
  • Eye tiredness
  • Blurred vision
  • Redness or pain
  • Heavy eyelids
  • Light sensitivity
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Stringy discharge
  • Eyestrain due to computer use
  • Periods of watery eyes after dry eyes

Risk factors of dry eyes

  • Environmental irritants such as low humidity, sun exposure, chemical fumes, wind, air-conditioning, heat or smoke
  • Allergies
  • Skin diseases in or around the eyes or diseases of eye glands
  • Hormonal changes in women such as menopause, pregnancy, birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
  • Eye surgery like cataract surgery and refractive surgery (LASIK)
  • Autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Sjogren’s syndrome.
  • Chronic eye inflammation
  • Contact lens wear for a long time
  • Infrequent blinking or a condition known as exposure keratitis where eyelids do not  close completely when sleeping
  • Excessive or insufficient intake of Vitamin
  • Different medications such as – nasal decongestants, antidepressants, Parkinson’s disease medication, antihistamines, tranquilizers and blood pressure medication

Complications with dry eyes

People who have dry eyes might face some of these complications:

How to prevent dry eyes

How contact lenses and dry eyes are related to each other

Having dry eyes does not mean in any way that you are not the right candidate for wearing lenses. But you should haev a conversation with your doctor about dryness and then select the lens that is comfortable to wear with this condition. The best contacts for dry eyes are soft lenses and lenses with low-water content such as those are made of silicone hydrogel.

How can dry eyes be diagnosed?

The ophthalmologist will start with your eye examination. He will then look at your eyelids and eye surface. He will also check how you are blinking your eyes. You may have to conduct different tests to diagnose the condition of dry eyes. He may even do a test that measures quality or thickness of your tears to see how quickly you are producing tears.

What can be the reason for dry eyes?

People with dry eyes do not have sufficient tears. This is due to either decreased production of tear or increased tear evaporation due to environmental factors like wind or dry air. So, dry eye may occur as a natural part of aging. Proper medications can trigger dry eye too and certain severe conditions.

How can you treat dry eyes in a natural way?

In order to treat your dry eyes naturally, you can use a humidifier to increase moisture into the air. Do not smoke cigarettes and other irritants and wear wraparound sunglasses to avoid your eyes from the wind. Try to apply warm compress and rinse eyelids with warm water and baby shampoo to improve quality of tears.

Is it possible to have dry eyes in one eye only?

Though dry eye usually affects both the eyes, it is quite possible to have dryness in one eye only. Dry eye might feel like scratchy sensation in either one or both the eyes. You may also suffer from redness, light sensitivity or blurred vision.

Can dry eyes go away?

Dry eyes are usually temporary with the symptoms that improve with change in your lifestyle or artificial tears. When the symptoms do not improve with home treatment, the doctor may prescribe eye drops to ease the symptoms. This includes eye drops to lessen the inflammation or stimulate production of tears.

When you should visit a doctor for dry eyes

You need to call your doctor when the eyes become red, irritated or itchy for a long time. You should also contact your eye surgeon when you experience sudden decreased or blurred vision or you have pain in the eyes.

Your doctor may even refer you to a specialist such as an ophthalmologist to determine the cause of what is exactly bothering your eyes. He will be conducting thorough examination of your eyes and measure the volume of your tears. He may also see how quickly your tears evaporate from the eye surface.