If you have ever found that your eyes are irritated, red, scratchy or feel like they have sand in them, you may have a condition called a dry eye. Dry eye occurs when your eye or eyes can’t produce enough tears to keep the eyes moist and healthy.
The reason for inadequate lubrication can be diverse, so when you notice that you have dry eyes, it is time to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. However, there are times that you can identify some of the potential causes of the dry eye so that you can get relief more quickly.
The inability to produce enough tears to keep your eyes moist can sometimes be traced to natural aging. As you age, the tear production and systems that are responsible for creating and delivering those tears can deteriorate and fail to function properly. Your doctor may be able to help correct the issue or
provide alternative approaches that will increase the moisture on your eyes.
There are certain medical conditions that can influence your tear production for a variety of reasons. This makes it important to reveal your complete medical and family history to your eye doctor so they can identify any of the potential causes and identify a treatment plan.
In addition to medical conditions, many medications can cause dry eyes. You should also make sure that your eye doctor has a current list of all the medications that you currently take in order to make the proper diagnosis.
Any damage from inflammation or radiation that has occurred to the tear glands can cause an inability to produce enough tears to wet the eyes.
If you’re exposed to high winds, smoke, or dust, you may also notice that you are experiencing issues with dry eyes. All of these issues can prematurely sap the moisture from your eyes causing them to become dry and irritated. In addition, the additional irritants in your eye from smoke, dust or windblown particles can become an additional discomfort.
As many people become intently focused on something, we tend to blink less often. Additionally, when we are focused on a computer screen, the irritation and strain can rapidly dry your eyes.
It is important to understand what caused your dry eyes in the first place. However, there are a number of things that you can do to help eliminate the cause or causes of dry eyes, and some simple treatments that can allow for the temporary relief.
Stopping smoking can be one of the most helpful tools to reduce dry eyes. Cigarette smoke comes so close to the face for extended durations and can wreak havoc on your eyes. Additionally, smoking depresses the immune system and can hinder your body’s ability to fight off any infections in your eyes that can also be causing dry eyes.
Wearing sunglasses can help reduce the amount of light and other irritants that can reach your eyes. Reducing the amount of light that hits your eyes can reduce eye strain and keep more of your tears from evaporating too quickly.
Finally, using artificial tears can help to introduce lubrication to your eye in the absence of your body being able to supply them. Artificial tears can offer some temporary relief from your discomfort but should not be used as a long-term solution.
If you have been suffering from the effects of dry eyes, it is time to schedule an appointment now. Your optometrist can help identify and correct the underlying issue to keep your eyes happy and healthy.