Dry eye disease is an uncomfortable condition that prevents proper lubrication of the delicate tissues covering the eyes. It can feel as though there’s debris in your eyes, and it can cause stringy mucus to form beneath your eyelids, causing painful itching and discomfort. Happily, dry eyes are easily treated, and there’s no need to suffer. A routine eye exam can diagnose dry eyes, and your eye doctor in Elkridge, MD, can begin immediate treatment to bring relief.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
Generally, dry eye is caused by too little tear production. Because your eyes aren’t getting the lubrication needed to function normally, they feel scratchy and painful. Several factors may contribute to dry eye, including:
- Hormonal changes
- Autoimmune disorders
- Some medications
- Nerve damage
- Vitamin A deficiency
- Normal aging
In most instances, dry eyes are not serious, and treatment as simple as eye drops can clear them right up and provide instant relief. However, you’ll need to schedule a visit with your optometrist to make sure nothing more serious is causing your symptoms.
How Can I Prevent Dry Eyes?
Sometimes, simple lifestyle changes can help to prevent dry eyes. Avoiding smoke and wind, treating allergies, or changing your medications may help. It’s also beneficial to make sure you’re staying well hydrated at all times.
Eyedrops can usually bring relief, and so can upping your daily intake of vitamin A. And if you wear contact lenses, switching to eyeglasses for a period of time may ease the symptoms of dry eyes. Wear sunglasses when outside, use a humidifier indoors and take breaks when working for long periods of time in front of your computer screen to help prevent the symptoms associated with dry eyes.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Dry eyes more often affect women over the age of 50, though anyone can suffer from dry eyes from time to time. Women are more susceptible because of the natural hormonal changes they experience throughout life, such as pregnancy and menopause.
Those who wear contact lenses or who have had refractive surgery, such as LASIK, are also more at risk. And if you spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun and wind, or if you smoke or spend time around others who smoke, you may also be more susceptible.
Treatment for Dry Eyes
Your optometrist in Elkridge, MD, can diagnose and treat dry eye disease. Sometimes, special contact lenses or medication that alleviates inflammation may help. Or, your doctor may decide to place tiny plugs in your tear ducts to prevent your tears from escaping.
Warm compresses used daily may prove beneficial if there’s a blockage in the glands that secrete fluid. Light therapy and eyelid massage may also be recommended, as is the use of over-the-counter or prescription eye drops.
If you’re experiencing the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eyes in Elkridge, MD, make an appointment today with Dr. Jan Eye Care.