I have so many patients eager to tell me how their eyes feel tired, dry, and sometimes water so much that tears form and fall down their cheek. Sound familiar? Dry Eye Syndrome is a real problem for many people across the board. It affects each person differently. Some people feel burning and dryness almost every waking minute of the day, while others’ eyes only feel dry when they use a computer, watch tv, drive or wear their contacts. Since there are many forms of dry eye, there are many causes and with that, different treatment options that need to be ‘tailor-made’ to complement the specific needs of each individual.
Here are some Symptoms of Dryness:
- dry, stinging or burning feeling (can be exacerbated by certain activities such as computer use, driving, reading, dry forced air in the enviroment, etc.)
- watery eyes (this may seem counter-intuitive but, making your eyes water is actual a biofeedback response to your eyes being dry, the only trouble is your lacrimal (or tear) gland is like a faucet and once it turns on it is not great at knowing when to stop the flow of those ‘extra’ tears).
- temporarily blurred vision (which may improve upon blinking)
Treatment options for Dry Eyes can vary anywhere from the use of artifical tears, gels and ointments, to nutrional supplements, punctal plugs, even prescription eye drops. There are also different behavioral modification treatments such as avoiding the triggers or irritants that cause dryness, drinking more water and eating a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids, fish oil, flaxseed oil and vitamin E, taking frequent breaks from the computer, reading and tv watching, and even practicing better blinking patterns to ensure that your upper and lower eye lids are completely closing when you blink.
Seem complicated? It can be! That is why it is necessary to have an optometrist perform various testing on your eyes to measure the quantity and quality of your tears. Through specific diagnostic testing used to pinpoint the cause of your specific form of dry eye, they can then recommend a treatment technique tailored to meet your needs. The doctor will measure your tear production, evaporation and quality. They will ask you a detailed medical history. Certain medications that you are taking and systemic conditions that you may have (or not realize you have) can exacerbate dryness of the eyes. If you wear contact lenses, it may be as simple as being fit with another brand of lenses made of a different lens material to bring your comfort level back up to par.
Noone should have to suffer from Dry Eyes. It affects your quality of life. See your eye care professional today and take back the comfort your eyes deserve!