Do you suffer from dry itchy eyes? Well, you’re not alone! Many people visit optometrist everyday complaining about dry eye symptoms and looking for a dry eye treatment. Dry eyes are caused by a reduction or lack of sufficient tears. Tears, made up of fatty oils, water and mucus, act as a lubricant to help protect eyes from infection and to keep the corneal surface smooth and clear. When this lubricant is insufficient, symptoms such as dryness, redness, soreness and watering eyes may occur, leading to the need for a dry eye treatment.
Although it sounds contradictory, another sign of dry eyes is the over productions of tears. Since dry eyes lead to irritated eyes, the eyes may attempt to lubricate and cleanse themselves with an overflow of tears, which leads to excessively watering eyes.
One cause of dry eye syndrome can be due to aging. Dry eye syndrome is much more prominent as we reach an older age, especially women after menopause, since tear production naturally slows down as we age. Other causes can be due to over counter prescription medications. Certain medications such as beta-blockers, sleeping pills, antihistamines and pain relievers can all have a hand in the main cause for a need for a dry eye treatment. Another cause may be due to overuse of certain diuretics.
Certain medical conditions can also cause dry eyes including:
• Thyroid Disorders
• Vitamin A Deficiency
More temporary causes of dry eyes, or in these cases increased tear evaporation, can come from wind, dry air and smoke. Also decreased blinking while reading, working on a computer and driving can all contribute to temporary dry eyes.
Main dry eye treatments vary depending on the intensity of the problems.
Regulating Environment Factors:
By avoiding certain environmental factors that lead to tear evaporation can help reduce the problem. Also, using a humidifier in dry indoor locations, not smoking and wearing protective, wrap-around glasses in windy weather can all improve dry eye symptoms.
Using Artificial Tears: Using artificial tear eye drops as a dry eye treatment can improve dryness in mild to moderate cases. Artificial tears can be used as little or often as needed. No prescription is needed for artificial tear eye drops for the eyes, but it is a good idea to ask you doctor’s recommendation.
Prescription Medications: Certain prescription medicated eye drops for the eyes can target inflammation in the eyes, which can lead to eye lubrication. An eye exam can help your doctor determine if prescription medicated eyes drops for the eyes can be a dry eye treatment.
Tear Conservation: Punctual plugs are a good temporary way to increase tear production by blocking the tear ducts, preventing existing tears from departing the eyes too quickly. Permanent eye plugs are also available through surgery, which permanently closes the tear ducts.