What is it?

Dry eye is a condition that happens when your eyes do not produce enough tears to keep your eyes moist and lubricated. It is most common in older adults and is often a chronic condition.

How does it happen?

Dry eye can occur from inadequate or poor quality tear production. As you get older, your tear production may slow down, or it could be the side effect of a medication. Your tears could also be poor quality, which leads them to evaporate too quickly. Both conditions can lead to dry eyes.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of dry eye can range from slightly uncomfortable to completely unbearable. These symptoms may include:

  • Burning or stinging eyes
  • Redness and pain of the eyes
  • Heavy eyelids
  • Blurred vision
  • Periods of excess tears and periods of no tears at all
  • An inability to cry
  • Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
  • Eye fatigue
  • An Inability to focus on a computer screen, book, television, etc...

What are my risk factors?

There are many factors that can lead to an onset of chronic dry eyes or even a temporary occurrence. These factors may include:

  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop dry eye.
  • Age: As you get older, your eyes can produce less tears.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as antidepressants or birth control pills, can affect tear production.
  • Medical Conditions: Thyroid problems, arthritis, and diabetes are a few conditions that can lead to problems with the eyes.
  • Environmental Conditions: These can be anything from exposure to a dry climate to long-term use of contact lenses.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Dry eye can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam performed by your eye doctor. Your doctor will test your tear quality and examine your eyelids and cornea.

Typically, dry eye is treated with eye drops or artificial tear solutions. Increasing your intake of water and omega-3 fatty acids may help improve symptoms as well.

How can I prevent it from happening?

Remember to blink, drink plenty of water, wear sunglasses outside, and consume omega-3 fatty acids to reduce your risk of developing dry eye.

If you are experiencing similar symptoms to dry eye, contact us today.