Are your eyes itchy, scratchy, watery, sticky, sore, red, burning, blurry or just downright grumpy with you? You could be suffering from dry eye. After all, you recently had your eyes examined and you know that your current groovy prescription is fine.
What could be wrong with your eyes?
The answer could be dry eye syndrome. See tears aren’t just for crying. Your eyes constantly produce tears to help lubricate and protect your themselves. Each time you blink, the tears are spread out across the eye, coating it. For people who suffer from dry eye syndrome, the eyes just do not produce enough tears constantly to do the job, or those tears evaporate too quickly.
When you work on the computer for long times, or spend a substantial amount of time staring at a phone screen, the eye’s blink rate decreases significantly, causing the protective tear film that covers the eye to evaporate faster. And in order to retain visual accuracy, the tear film needs to spread smoothly and evenly over the eye surface – insufficient fluid makes this impossible.
But that’s not all there is to it. Much like baking a cake and getting the ingredient ratio just right, healthy tears consist of a balance of oil, mucus and water, and when the components are not all there, in the right quantities and ratios (as in the case of dry eyes), your eyes cannot do their job as they are supposed to and they will no longer produce the necessary smooth cover over the front of the eye. Poor tear quality can cause blurry vision, dry and irritated eyes and a burning sensation. Even though your eyes focus perfectly well, the uneven film of tears will distort your vision.
What are the symptoms to look out for?
- Blurry, fluctuating vision
- Feeling the need to blink more often
- Gritty, irritated sensation
- Stinging or achiness
- Overly-watery eyes
- Eye and eyelid redness
- Sensitivity to light
Symptoms can be different for everyone, and fluctuate due to environmental factors; such as wind, air conditioning, artificial lighting, using your computer or smartphone, air pollution, driving, wearing contact lenses etc.
It is also worth to mention that dry eye tends to affect females more than males, and can be part of the natural aging process (especially during menopause). It might also appear in the form of a side effect to many medications, including oral contraception. If you have arthritis, asthma, gout, diabetes, or are over 40 years old, you may be more at risk for this condition.
Will you be able to get rid of dry eye?
Unfortunately dry eye tends to be a condition that requires ongoing management. A bit like having dry legs… sometimes you need more moisturiser than others! The good news is the majority of patients can achieve ongoing sustained comfort without too many adjustments to lifestyle.
Is there anything I can do about my dry eyes?
The best course of action will of course be to pop into Groovy and discuss your symptoms with our optoms to see if there is an underlying cause, and what your individual treatment plan should include. Treatments prescribed will vary from eye drops, and dietary changes (omega-3 oils help reduce dry eye symptoms, due to their anti-inflamortary properties), to warm eye compresses and E-Eye IPL (Intense Pulse Light) therapy.
To discuss your concerns and symptoms, book your consultation here.