WHAT IS IT?
Dry eyes occur when your eyes do not produce enough tears to keep them moist and lubricated. Tears are important for the health of your eyes because they help to protect them from infections and irritations. Without enough tears, your eyes can become dry, itchy, and uncomfortable.
Dry eyes can be caused by a variety of factors, including aging, hormonal changes, certain medications, environmental conditions (such as dry air), and medical conditions such as Sjögren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.
Symptoms of dry eyes can include:
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision
- Eye fatigue
If you experience these symptoms, you should visit your eye doctor. They can diagnose dry eyes and recommend a treatment plan that may include:
Artificial tears: These are eye drops that can help to lubricate the eyes and relieve dryness.
Prescription eye drops: Your doctor may prescribe medicated eye drops that can help to reduce inflammation and increase tear production.
Punctal plugs: These are small devices that are inserted into the tear ducts to help keep the tears from draining away too quickly.
Lifestyle changes: Your eye doctor may recommend changes to your diet or environment to help reduce the symptoms of dry eyes. For example, they may recommend that you use a humidifier in your home to increase the moisture in the air.
Surgery: In severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to help reduce dryness. This may include procedures to help close the tear ducts or to increase tear production.
Scleral contact lenses: Your doctor may recommend scleral contact lenses to treat dry eyes. These highly specialized contact lenses can create a pooling of fluid over the cornea, helping the surface stay healthy.
Amniotic membranes: Your doctor may recommend the application of an amniotic membrane to help the surface of the eye heal by generating new healthy cells.
If you have dry eyes, it is important to take care of your eyes to prevent further damage. This may include using lubricating eye drops regularly, avoiding air conditioning or fans that blow directly on your face, and taking frequent breaks from activities that require you to stare at a computer or phone screen for long periods of time.
In summary, dry eyes occur when your eyes do not produce enough tears to keep them moist and lubricated. This can cause discomfort and damage to your eyes if left untreated. However, there are several treatment options available, including artificial tears, prescription eye drops, punctal plugs, lifestyle changes, and surgery. If you experience symptoms of dry eyes, you should visit your eye doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.