Tears are essential to ensuring the eyes are kept moist. Besides that, they also help heal eye wounds and keep the eyes protected from infection. People who struggle from dry eye produce less tears and of a lower quality. Therefore, their eyes are unable to keep themselves lubricated and comfortable.
Tear production wanes as we get older. For some people, of any age, tears are unable to stay in their eyes long enough to properly lubricate them. Besides aging, some people suffer from other medical conditions that cause dry eye, or they take medications where dry eye is a side effect.
Dry eye sufferers report feeling like their eye is scratchy, or even like a piece of sand is stuck in it. Other symptoms can include stinging, burning, excessive tearing after feeling very dry, discharge, pain, or redness. Some people report also feeling like their eyelids are heavy, and they report blurry, changing, or decreasing vision. However, losing vision completely is very rare with dry eye.
One way to combat dry eye is with artificial tears; this is the main treatment to ensure appropriate lubrication. However, artificial tears don’t work well for many people. If that’s the case, patients with dry eye are also encouraged to use a humidifier at home, wear protective glasses, and avoid windy or very dry weather environments. If the dry eye is severe, a doctor can temporarily or permanently close the tear drain, which is the small opening at the inner corner of the eyelid. This is a painless and usually helpful procedure for those suffering from severe dry eye.
Don’t suffer with dry eye for any longer than you have to. Contact Riverdale Ophthalmology today.