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Facts About Dry Eyes

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

facts-about-dry-eyes

Dry Eyes Symptoms

You might feel like you have sand in your eyes, or they might burn or itch. You might be sensitive to light, have blurry vision, redness, or, in some cases, your eyes might be watery. You also may have a tough time wearing contact lenses. Your body normally makes moisture for your eyes, but sometimes it doesn't or if it’s not good quality. Dry eyes can affect your eyesight and be quite uncomfortable.

The moisture soothes the surface of your eyes and protects them from things like debris and infection. Each time you blink the moisture should flow over your eyes, then drain into the inner corners of your eyelids to the back of your nose.

If you do not make enough good-quality tears, your eyes can become very dry and irritated. The second most common type of dry eye happens because your body doesn’t make enough tears. This is called dry eye syndrome, or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). There are many possible causes. It can resolve on its own or need treatment.

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Possible Causes of Dry Eyes

There are several things or reasons for dry eyes, including:

  • Dry eye can be a result of cataract surgery or LASIK or PRK surgery, which actually cure vision problems. The nerves that make tears may be damaged during these surgeries.
  • Autoimmune diseases can affect your ability to make tears, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or Sjorgren’s syndrome They attack saliva and tear ducts.
  • As you age the tears may not work as well. In addition, your eyelids may begin to sag, which can break the seal that is against the eyeball that keeps in moisture.
  • Tear duct infection (dacryocystitis) that occurs when the small tube that runs down the length of the nose connecting to the eyelid gets blocked with bacteria. This is most common in infants, but it may occur at any age.
  • Medications such as antihistamines, beta-blockers, and some antidepressants, can cause dry eyes.
  • Low humidity does not cause dry eyes, but it can exacerbate the symptoms. For example, in a heated room or on an airplane.
  • Spending too much screen time may be a problem as you are less likely to blink and get moisture over your eyes.
  • Contact lenses actually rest inside the tear film so your eyes may become uncomfortable or it may be impossible to wear them. Changing solutions or getting lenses from a different manufacturer may help.

Dry eye symptoms and treatment - Dr. Angela Darveaux, OD

Diagnoses

Your eye doctor can give you a comprehensive eye exam. A Schirmer test may be ordered, where blotting strips of paper are placed under your lower eyelids. They are left for five minutes, then the doctor can measure the amount of the strip that is soaked by your tears. There are a few other tests that may be ordered. Other treatments may try to manage a condition or factor causing dry eyes, such as a medication. Women are more likely to have dry eyes due to hormonal changes.

facts-about-dry-eyes

Dry Eyes Treatments

There are treatments for dry eyes and also some preventative steps to take. People that have occasional dry eyes will find over-the-counter artificial tears will help.There are prescription eye drops for someone with a more serious problem.

Two of the more common prescription eye drops are Restasis and Xiidra. These are prescribed for people with moderate to severe dry eyes. Restasis actually treats the inflammation that causes dry eyes. As a person with lupus and sjogren’s disease, I have used Restasis for years, and it provides significant relief.

If the eye drops do not relieve the condition, the doctor may order hydroxypropyl cellulose (Lacrisert) insets. This is a tiny eye insert like a grain of rice that is inserted between the lower eyelid and the eyeball. It dissolves slowing while releasing a lubricant for the eye.

Cholinergic drugs (pilocarpine or cevimeline) may increase tear production, but a possible side effect is sweating.

Another solution is plugging the tear ducts with tiny silicone plugs (punctal plugs). They can be removed as necessary. The tear ducts can also be plugged using a heat procedure. A more permanent solution is thermal cautery.

Include flax oil or flax oil capsules to help keep the moisture in your eyes. Drink enough water to prevent becoming dehydrated.

Dry Eyes-Treat the Cause, Not the Symptoms

In Conclusion

If dry eyes are new to you, schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist for an eye exam. Use over-the-counter eye drops in the meantime. There are many possible treatments for this condition.

Use protective eyewear when biking or doing any outdoor activity. Wear sunglasses. Stay away from fans, hair dryers, air conditioners, smoke, wind and even some chemicals that irritate the eyes. Use a humidifier as necessary. If you spend hours on the computer, take frequent breaks. It is important to use eye drops to relieve this condition and protect your eyes.

References

Dry Eyes Survey

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Pamela Oglesby

Comments

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 20, 2020:

Hi Flourish,

I have also found the feed tough to use sometimes. I do appreciate your nice comments. Have a nice weekend.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 20, 2020:

I missed this the first time around and had a hard time getting to it in the feed, so I'm thankful to see it here so I could comment. I appreciate the information about dry eyes. I didn't know about flax seed oil or about the measures for more extreme cases. I've developed dry eyes as a result of scleritis. Excellent article!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 20, 2020:

Hi Adrienne,

Arizona is such a dry climate obviously. There is not much that will really help but eye drops will give some relief. Thank you so much for your comments.

Adrienne Farricelli on November 19, 2020:

I have suffered from dry eyes ever since moving to Arizona. When I travel to Italy to see my parents who live by the sea, it goes away. Thanks for this informative article on dry eyes.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 19, 2020:

Hi Liz,

Dry eyes are a fairly common problem. I appreciate your very nice comments.

Liz Westwood from UK on November 19, 2020:

This is a well-organized and very helpful article. I have recently come across several people who have been using eye drops to solve this problem. It certainly seems to be age-related!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 16, 2020:

Hi Flourish,

You summed up how I also feel about "one more medical condition". While it is annoying it is treatable most of the time. Thanks so much for your comments. Have a great week.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 16, 2020:

I developed this annoying problem after experiencing scleritis and being treated with too much of a medication. It's very annoying and feels like just one more medical condition to add to the list!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 14, 2020:

Hi Louise,

I am gld you don't have the problem regularly but that one time sounds awful. Thank you for sharing your experience and commenting.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 14, 2020:

Thank you for commenting, MG.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 14, 2020:

Shauna, i appreciate you sharing your experience..

Louise Elcross from Preston on November 14, 2020:

I sometimes experience dry eyes. One morning when I woke up I could not open my eyes and had to prise them open. Once they were open I thought I had gone blind because I could not see as my eyeballs were rolled upwards and stuck because the socket was so dry. Doctor gave me some gel that turned to liquid and that helped. I am grateful that I do not experience dry eyes often. Thank you Pamela for useful information.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on November 13, 2020:

Pamela, havens had this problem ever but it was so interesting reading your article.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 13, 2020:

Thanks, Pamela. I'll try that.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 13, 2020:

Hi Shauna,

I am glad you found an eye drop that works for you. Since you work with computers all day, try to blink more frequently and maybe just close your eyes for a few seconds.

Thanks so much for commenting. Have a great weekend!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 13, 2020:

Hi Peggy,

While side effects tend to be rare I certainly understand your reasoning. If the liquid tears work then you are doing well. Thank you for y comments. Have a good weekend, Peggy.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 13, 2020:

I have dry eye, Pamela. My doctor prescribed Restasis years ago, but it made my eyes burn, so I stopped using it. I've been using Lumify because I wake up with red eyes every morning. It seems to be the only drop that takes the red out and gives my eyes some relief. Of course, working on a computer for eight to nine hours a day, five days a week doesn't help either!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 13, 2020:

Glad that I read this on time and could leave a comment. An optometrist prescribed a medication for my dry itchy eyes, but after reading the possible side-effects, I decided to keep using my liquid tears. The possible side-effects included causing cataracts and glaucoma. To me, that was not worth the risk.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 13, 2020:

Thak you, Ann.

Ann Carr from SW England on November 13, 2020:

I'll let you know exactly what mine's called.

Ann

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 13, 2020:

Hi Manatita,

I am glad your glaucoma is resolved but a side effect of any eye surgery can certainly by dry eyes. It is good to eat an adqequate amount of fatty acids. I pray you have do further problems.

I appreciate your comments, as always. Have a great weekend!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 13, 2020:

Ann, I just went for an annual eye exam the other day. The first thing she said when she looked closely at my eye was, "Your eyes are very dry." She has been saying that for a few years now but she has never mentioned a mask. I may look into trying to buy one. I appreciate that information.

manatita44 from london on November 13, 2020:

Wonderful article. I do have dry eyes, it came post my glaucoma operation. I don't remember the explanation, but they made some mistakes initially. I take Hylo forte, but no more anti-glaucoma meds, which is a help, I suppose. I have also taken the essential fatty acids for some time. Lovely and informative Hub.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 13, 2020:

Hi Chitrangada,

i hope this article helps your relative. It can be a fairly annoying problem but I found the prescription eye drops to make a big difference for me.

I appreciate your comments and I sure miss not being able to comment when the page is moved so quickly. Have a good weekend, Chitrangada.

Ann Carr from SW England on November 13, 2020:

It was my present optometrist who suggested the mask. It's like a bean bag.

Ann

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on November 13, 2020:

An informative article about the dry eyes syndrome. One of my relatives has this and I have seen him putting a specific kind of eye drops quite often. I believe it’s troublesome for him. Thanks for this well written article, which I would pass on to him.

Another important article, which educated me. Many thanks for sharing. And, I am glad that I Sam able to comment on this.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 13, 2020:

Hi my Ann,

I think having an optomerist for a father is perfect for you. The mask sounds wonderful and I did not read anything about that when I was doing my research.

My personal experience is using Restasis. Once I started using it twice a day my eyes felt much better. Thank you so much for your generous comments. Have a lovely weekend.

Ann Carr from SW England on November 13, 2020:

I have suffered from hay fever for many years and that gives me dry, itchy eyes in the summer. However, having a father who was an optometrist, I was well looked after.

The hay fever has diminished as I've aged, though I still take antihistamines for it. Unfortunately, a few years ago I had optical shingles while I was on holiday in France and since then I have had itchy, irritable eyes most of the time. I've been told to wear sunglasses etc, which I always do anyway, and eye-drops are a way of life for me. I also use a mask which I can heat in the microwave and put on for 10 minutes; it's wonderful and soothes my eyes. I then apply some miscellar water and it is effective for a while. I don't know what I'd do without my warm mask treatment.

This is a great article, Pamela, with lots of good advice.

Ann

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 13, 2020:

Hi Bill,

You may be the healthies man I know. :) At least this problem is easily treated with a few eye drops. Thanks so much for you comments.

I am good and hope you have a good weekend.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 13, 2020:

We have to be fast these days to comment on a hub. Glad I made it in time.

This hasn't happened to me, thank the stars and crossing my fingers, but it is still informative and interesting, so thanks for the information. I hope this finds you well. Have a fabulous weekend!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 13, 2020:

Hi Rosina,

It sounds like you have an occasion problem but nothing chronic. I appreciate your very thoughtful comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 13, 2020:

Hi Eric,

I am glad your problem was resolved to so you can get teary watching babies and puppis. I appreciate your comments, as always.

Rosina S Khan on November 13, 2020:

When I have dry eyes or redness in them, I use eyedrops and get relief immediately. Your article is helpful in that it shows what to do when eye drops won't help. A very educational article, Pamela.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 13, 2020:

I had them but an adjustment to my medication resolved the issue. Now I just watch babies and puppies playing and get all teary ;-)

Really good information that I shall be cognitive of.