Your eyes need tears to stay healthy. They rinse away any small particles caught in the eye and keep the eyes moist and comfortable. They also contain enzymes that guard the eyes against microorganisms that are sometimes found in the eye.
In instances where the eyes lack sufficient tears, symptoms can be present such as persistent feelings of dryness, burning, itching or the feeling of something in your eye. Ironically, dry eyes occasionally cause watery eyes to try to compensate for dryness.
Dry eye syndrome can be a result of a number of reasons. The first factor is age since it is usually adults that complain of dry eye syndrome, and often women going through menopause. Reduction in tear production can be a side effect of many medications including diuretics, antidepressants, blood pressure pills or others. Climate that is especially windy, or dry heat or air circulation are also known causes. Additionally, certain systemic diseases or deficiencies in producing tears, extended computer use which can reduce blinking, or use of contact lenses can add to the chances of dry eyes.
Dry eye symptoms may be alleviated with artificial tears to add moisture. It’s recommended to consult with your eye doctor to know which drops to buy and how to use them. If over the counter artificial tears aren’t working your doctor might prescribe Rx drops that actually help your body to make more tears.
If eye drops don’t relieve your discomfort, your eye care professional might recommend Lacrisert, an insert placed inside the eyelid that continually lets out lubricants throughout the day. You might also want to try punctual plugs which help keep the eye moist by controlling the drainage of tears. Some eye doctors may suggest you try ways for you to change your environment and your diet to lessen discomfort.
In the majority of cases, dry eye syndrome will not result in any real harm but can be a nuisance. However, very serious cases could make you more at risk of infection so it is a good idea to speak to your optometrist.
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