Tears play an essential role in keeping your eyes healthy. In addition to moisturizing your eyes, they also prevent debris from entering your eyes, reducing your risk of eye irritations or infections. They also help maintain your eyes’ smooth and even surface for clear vision. Any irregularities regarding the quantity or quality of your tears can lead to dry eye syndrome. Read on as your trusted optometrist from Six One Six Vision Center answers common questions about this condition:
What Causes Dry Eyes?
Tears are made up of three layers: an innermost mucus layer, a middle watery layer, and an outermost oily layer. These layers prevent your tears from evaporating too quickly, keep your eyes well moisturized, and ensure that your tears are evenly spread out across your eyes. Each tear component is produced by different glands on or near the eye. A problem with any of these sources of tear film components can result in tear instability and dry eyes, and there are different categories of dry eyes, depending on which layer is affected. The specific type of dry eye often will determine the type of treatment your eye doctor recommends to give you relief from your dry eye symptoms.
What Are the Risk Factors?
Older individuals, especially women and people 65 years of age and older, have a higher risk of developing dry eyes due to the aging process and hormonal changes. Your reliable eye doctor explains that being in dry climates (like Idaho) and extended screentime useage may also increase your likelihood of developing dry eyes. Many medications have the side effect of dry eye, and many systemic diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases increase your risk as well.
What Are the Symptoms?
Red, swollen, and painful eyes are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome. Your eyes may also produce discharge or excessive tears, often accompanied by a burning and itching sensation. You may experience decreased tolerance to visually demanding activities as well, like reading, cross-stitching, or working on the computer. Difficulty applying or removing your contact lenses, or discomfort while wearing them, are also common with dry eye.
How Is It Treated?
There are many effective treatment options if you suffer from dry eye. Depending on the type of dry eye you are diagnosed with, Drs. Huber will customize a treatment plan specific to your needs and lifestyle. In many cases, routine use of artificial tears and minor behavioral modifications (taking frequent breaks during computer use, for example) can significantly reduce dry eye symptoms. In other cases, your eye doctor might recommend prescription eye medications, supplements, or in-office procedures to help your body create and secrete more tears and to decrease eye irritation and inflammation.
For further questions about dry eye disease, call us at (208) 214-5080 or complete our form. We serve Boise, ID.