Your eyes need tears to stay healthy. They rinse the eye of any dust or particles and keep the eyes moist and comfortable. They also contain enzymes that eliminate bacteria that can be present in the eye.
When the eyes have insufficient tears, the results are often discomfort such as perpetual feelings of dryness, burning, scratchiness or the feeling of something in your eye. To the surprise of many, dry eyes often can cause eyes to water excessively in an attempt to compensate for inadequate tearing.
There are several causes of dry eyes. Dry eyes are often age related as most individuals that suffer from dry eyes are adults, especially women during menopause. Dry eye syndrome can also result from certain medicines. Dry or dusty air, and excessive heating or air conditioning are also known to cause or worsen dry eyes. Additionally, some diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or others, extended computer use or use of contact lenses can add to the chances of dry eye syndrome.
The symptoms associated with dry eyes can often be improved by using lubricating eye drops to reduce dryness. Your eye doctor can tell you which eye drops to purchase and how to use them. If non-prescription drops don’t help you may need Rx drops that actually stimulate your body to produce more tears.
If those don’t help, your eye care professional might suggest Lacrisert, which is inserted into the eyelid and periodically lets out lubricants during the day. You may also want to try lacrimal plugs which help keep the eye moist by controlling the drainage of tears. Some eye doctors might suggest you try nutritional supplements or environmental changes to lessen discomfort.
In most cases, dry eyes do not affect your eyes permanently but can be a discomfort. Nevertheless, very serious cases increase the risk of infection so it is advised to consult with your eye doctor.
If you notice dry, itchy, burning eyes, it could be dry eye syndrome so schedule a visit to your eye doctor as soon as possible!