With a name like dry eye syndrome, it would seem logical to assume that you would have dry eyes. But there’s a little bit more to this eye condition than that, and more common signs to watch out for. Keep reading to learn more about dry eye!
1. Dry eyes
Yes, one of the most common signs of dry eye syndrome is dry eyes. When your eyes are dry, it’s usually due to two things.
One, you aren’t producing enough tears, or two, the tears being produced are low-quality. In either case, it results in your eyes feeling drier than normal. But why are your eyes so dry?
Part of the problem could stem from the tear film in your eyes. In someone who doesn’t have dry eye syndrome, the tear film has three components: water, mucous, and oil.
When someone has dry eye syndrome, their tears are missing one or several of these vital components. If your tears don’t have enough oil or mucous, it can result in the frustrating symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
2. Irritation or gritty feeling
Another common sign of dry eye syndrome that goes along with having dry eyes is irritation. Generally, if your eyes are dry, they are also irritated.
They may also feel gritty, like something is in them, even if nothing is there. For most people with dry eye syndrome, the next logical step is to rub their eyes to alleviate the gritty feeling.
But this is actually the last thing you want to do! Rubbing your eyes in any capacity can cause an incredible amount of damage to them!
If your eyes feel irritated and you get the urge to rub them, resist and use artificial tears instead. When your eyes are too dry, using artificial tears or eye drops can help if your eyes start to bother you.
3. Watery eyes that won’t stop tearing up
When people hear the phrase “dry eye syndrome” the last sign they would expect is someone experiencing watery eyes that tear up. But watery eyes that won’t stop tearing up are another common sign that you may have dry eye syndrome.
Remember that some of the reasons people develop dry eye syndrome is because of tear production or because they produce low-quality tears. For people with dry eyes, they may have eyes that won’t stop watering because their tears aren’t high quality.
The tears may have too much or too little water in them, making them less beneficial for the eyes. Tears are a crucial component that keeps the eyes lubricated and moisturized.
4. Sensitivity to light
If you don’t have dry eyes, it can be difficult to understand what the condition feels like. If you’ve ever been to a movie theatre, think about how uncomfortable it feels when you make it outside into the sun.
After two hours in the dark, it can take your eyes a few minutes before they adjust to the sunlight again! Now imagine that’s how your eyes feel all the time, and you have a good idea of how someone with dry eye and light sensitivity might feel.
The problem with dry eye syndrome is if you leave it alone, it will only get worse over time. There’s nothing worse than having eyes that feel uncomfortable all the time!
5. Difficulty wearing contact lenses
When you have dry eyes, little tasks become a lot harder. For some people, this can mean that wearing contact lenses becomes difficult.
When most people put in their contacts, they wear them for eight hours a day. Contacts cover the surface of the eye and can soak up much of the eye’s fluids.
With dry eye syndrome, wearing contact lenses can become downright painful or impossible. Your eyes may become red, itchy, or even start hurting when you wear contact lenses.
Having dry eyes is one reason many contact lens wearers consider procedures like LASIK. After all, why wouldn’t you want to find a way to no longer need to touch your eyes multiple times a day if you could?
If someone with dry eye syndrome was thinking about LASIK, they would need to have their symptoms under control before getting the procedure. Undergoing something like LASIK with an active case of dry eye can lead to severe complications and worsening dry eye symptoms.
6. Itchy eyes
Although allergy season is right around the corner here in Griffin, experiencing itchy eyes all year isn’t an allergy symptom, it’s a sign of dry eyes. Having itchy eyes along with irritation, watery eyes, and grittiness is a sign that you should talk to your eye doctor about dry eye syndrome.
If you happen to have allergies and think you may have dry eyes as well, talk to your eye doctor sooner than later. Dry eye symptoms have a tendency to get worse during allergy season, not better.
It’s better to be prepared and know what you’re up against before pollen starts floating around and coating every surface around you!
What you can do to help your dry eyes now
If your dry eyes are bothering you right now, there are things you can do to find relief. Try some of the following tips:
Drink more water
If your eyes are dry, it can often be a sign that the rest of your body is also dehydrated. If you feel thirsty, you’re already showing signs that you aren’t drinking enough water!
Aim for at least 8 eight-ounce glasses of water every day. You’ll see benefits to your skin, eyes, and even your energy levels!
Eat more foods with Omega-3 fatty acids in them
If your eyes are dry, your diet could use some overhauling. Try eating more salmon, tuna, watermelon, walnuts, and chia seeds and see if you see any improvements.
Make some small lifestyle changes
They don’t have to be extreme but think about making some changes like buying humidifiers. Put them in the rooms that you’re in the most like your bedroom or living room.
Humidifiers are a great way to add moisture into the air, which your dry eyes will most certainly benefit from.
Get enough sleep at night
If you want to be healthy, inside and out, you need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night. Tired eyes are more likely to feel dry, so try to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep.
Do this every night, including on the weekends. Consistency is key if you want your eyes to feel better and to stay that way!
Tried these tips and not seeing any changes? It may be time to see an eye care professional for dry eye treatment.
Living with dry eye is an unfortunately common experience. For those older than 50, there are almost 5 million struggling with the disease.
The number increases if you take the younger population into account as well. Even though it is such a prevalent condition, there is hope.
Dry eye can be treated with professional medical help. But there is also quite a bit you can do about dry eye syndrome on your own time. Keep reading for a few tips and tricks to naturally treat dry eye!
To produce enough tears, your body needs a surplus of water. When you become dehydrated, tears are one of the first things to go.
Your body needs to conserve water for other more critical functions. If you want to avoid dry eye or reduce the symptoms, drink enough water!
The problem is enough water for one person may not be enough for someone else. At the very least, aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
It’s easy to remember and it’s a good goal to keep in the back of your mind. If it doesn’t feel like enough water and you still feel thirsty, try to drink more water.
2. Eat The Right Diet
Food can also have a large impact on dry eye and your vision in general. Omega-3 fatty acids which are commonly found in fatty fish help reduce inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a big source of dry eye and exacerbates the worst symptoms of it.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that are found in eggs and leafy greens such as kale or spinach. Eating enough of these foods can help promote healthy cell structures.
Incorporating vitamins C and E into your diet will also help your eyes and your immune system. Vitamin C is easy to find in citrus fruits, but you can also find it in cooked spinach and other sources.
Vitamin E is another antioxidant that protects the cells in your eyes. It can be found in various nuts and seeds, as well as sweet potato and wheat.
Zinc helps to produce a certain protective pigment for your eyes. This pigment protects against infection. You can find zinc in a wide variety of meats and dairy such as salmon, beef, pork, oysters, yogurt, milk, and eggs.
3. Clean Your Home Often
Having dust and allergens in your home can cause constant irritation to your eyes. Dusting and vacuuming to avoid the buildup of these things can help more than you might think.
A good tip is to dust using a moist towel rather than a dry duster. The irritants will cling to the towel, rather than become airborne. If you suffer from allergies, this can make a big difference!
4. Buy The Right Appliances
Certain appliances can help you improve your home to fight dry eye. Increasing the humidity with humidifiers will give your eyes a hydration boost.
Having a humidifier will also stop your tears from evaporating too quickly. Using an air filter removes pollen and pet dander from the air, reducing irritation to your eyes.
Natural remedies may not be enough to stop your dry eye. If you’re not finding relief, you may need to see a doctor.
If you have dry eye, you probably want to get rid of it as soon as possible. The good news is: you can!
You can set up an appointment at Takle Eye in Griffin, GA. While treating dry eye is doable, preventing the problem is always preferable. Here are some tips to help you prevent dry eye yourself!
Change Your Home
There are lots of ways that you can change your house to help protect yourself from dry eye. Humidifiers immediately come to mind, as they raise the air moisture in whatever room you’re in.
This helps keep your eyes from drying out. Sealing any cracks in your home to prevent moisture from escaping can also help. This is especially important if you live in a drier climate.
If possible, prevent allergens from being around you. Allergens like pollen can trigger red, irritated eyes.
Keep an eye on the pollen count and avoid opening your windows or going outside until the count lowers. Dust frequently using a damp cloth so that the dust and irritants cling to the cloth.
You can also install an air filter to suck allergens out of the air in your home.
Change Your Lifestyle
Our habits play a huge role in our health and dry eye is no exception. Smoking not only creates a ton of problems for your health but the smoke irritates your eyes. If you’re a smoker, you’re much more likely to suffer from dry eye.
Another thing that’s hurting your eyes is the overuse of screens. You may not realize it but TVs, smartphones, and computers are decreasing your blink rate.
By decreasing your blink rate, you are actually sending less moisture to your eyes. Can’t get away from the screens? Make sure you’re taking frequent breaks and go outside!
A little bit of fresh air can make a world of difference when it comes to your eyes.
Change Your Diet
Habits aren’t the only things that have a big effect on our well being. What we choose to consume and fuel our bodies with changes what they are capable of doing.
Staying hydrated is easy to not do, but it is important for your body, especially your eyes. Without a large supply of water, tears aren’t produced in large enough quantities.
The idea of staying hydrated is you need to drink water before you feel thirsty. By the time you are thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated.
Certain foods can also aid in tear production. Omega-3 fatty acids should be included in your diet. This includes foods like oily fish, walnuts, flaxseed, or chia seeds.
If your dry eye is already occurring, or it doesn’t seem to be preventable, then you may need treatment. Not sure where to turn?
Schedule a dry eye appointment at Takle Eye Group in Griffin, GA today! We’ll help get you back on the road to healthy eyes with a custom treatment plan. There’s no reason to suffer from the symptoms of dry eye syndrome any longer!
Have you ever woken up and you can barely open your eyes? It stings so badly that you’d prefer to keep them shut. When you finally peel your eyelids back it feels like you’re in the middle of a sandstorm, and you have to wipe away some invisible film clinging to the surface of your eyes.
This is what it’s like to struggle with dry eye syndrome, or chronic dry eye.
Most people experience dry eyes when air in their environment is artificially dry, or when they slow their blinking. Situations where you might experience dry eye include sitting on a plane under an air vent, focusing on a computer screen for a long time and blinking less often, or working outside on a windy day.
Infrequent dry eye symptoms are normal, but when dry eyes persist it could indicate a chronic condition. Many factors can contribute to chronic dry eye; prescription medication side-effects, overuse of diuretics, and even age are all possible causes of dry eye syndrome. Sometimes the cause of a case of dry eye syndrome can’t be determined, but there are still ways to keep your eyes well-lubricated and pain-free.
Control your environment. This is the simplest way to combat dry eye syndrome, because in many cases you can take steps on your own to make sure your environment is as eye-friendly as possible. Avoid areas with smoke or high winds, and wear wrap-around sunglasses if you will be outside. If your house is dry, use humidifiers in high-traffic areas.
Use artificial tears. There are entire aisles dedicated to artificial tears in drugstores and supermarkets, and with good reason. Artificial tears are a great way to augment your eyes’ own tear production. Of course, all that choice means it might take some searching to find the artificial tears that are just right for your case. Talk to an eye doctor for an educated recommendation.
Learn about prescription options. The causes of dry eye syndrome can often be treated with prescription medication, and your eye doctor will work with you to find out which treatment is best. The variety of prescription options is wide and includes oral medications, medicated eye drops, and more specialized solutions.
Conserve your tears. Tear ducts can be artificially closed to help maximize use of the tears your eyes produce. Sealing tear ducts ensures that tears won’t drain away as quickly. This option requires a quick surgical procedure, and seals can be made either permanent or temporary.
Ask about eye therapies. There are a number of eye therapies available today, ranging from eye massage to thermal pulse therapy. These therapies are often designed with a specific cause of dry eye in mind, though, so you’ll need to consult an ophthalmologist to determine if therapy will be effective.
Chronic dry eye doesn’t have to define your life. All it takes is an ounce of prevention and maybe a little help from your eye doctor to keep your eyes working comfortably. Dry eye is a complex problem, though, so it’s always best to consult a qualified physician like the ones at Griffin Eye Clinic before attempting a treatment on your own.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider.