How Do I Know if I Have Dry Eyes?
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. You know if you have dry eyes when you experience these 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.
Schedule an appointment to discuss your dry eye options at Takle Eye Group in Griffin, GA today!