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6 Reasons Why Your Eyes are Dry | Eyes Now

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Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that can be attributed to many causes. Thankfully, there’s a wide range of preventative and curative treatments available for people suffering from dry eyes. Call us today to talk to an Optometrist and cure your dry eye syndrome.

Why are my Eyes Dry?

  1. Reduced Tear Production
    Natural tear production tends to subside as people age. Generally, patients will begin to experience a reduction in tear production around age 40. Reduced tear production due to aging is most common in women due to hormonal changes from menopause  which can reduce tear production. Diabetes, autoimmune diseases, radiation treatment, and vitamin A deficiency are also associated with lowered tear production.
  2. Imbalanced Tear Production
    Tears are composed of a mixture of mucus, oil, and water. When these three components of a tear are out of balance, patients may experience dry eye syndrome. Certain skin conditions such as rosacea and blepharitis can cause glands that emit the oil component of tears to become blocked, leading to dry eyes.
  3. Eyelid Problems
    Generally, when people blink, their eyelids spread a thin, even layer of tears over the surface of the eyes. Certain conditions can affect the way we blink, leading to tears not being spread evenly over the eyes, contributing to dry eyes. We generally blink approximately five times per minute, and certain environmental factors can lead people to blink less often contributing to dry eyes.
  4. Medication Interactions
    There are many medications that can cause dry eyes as a side effect. This is because they affect the balance of our tear mixture, the way we blink, or how often we blink. Medications which contribute to dry eyes include birth control, antidepressants, sleeping pills, opiate painkillers, acne drugs, diuretics, ACE inhibitors, antihistamines, and also decongestants.
  5. Environmental Factors
    Most people’s dry eye syndrome is caused by a wide range of potential environmental factors. This can affect the rate at which our tears evaporate or how often we blink. Vehicles with dry, blowing air, like airplanes, increase the tear evaporation rate and are a major contributor to dry eyes. Engaging in activities that lead to increased visual concentration like working at a computer, driving, or reading slows down the rate which we blink, contribute to dry eye syndrome.
  6. Contact Lenses
    Contact lenses obstruct oxygen’s access to the surface of the eye, contributing to dry eye symptoms. Modern contact lenses are designed specifically to allow more oxygen to the surface of the eye, but symptoms may still be present, especially toward the end of the day.

How do I fix my dry eyes?

  1. Make the most of your natural tears.
    Protect your tears! It is important to avoid smoky, dry or windy places. Wearing wraparound glasses to protect the eyes from heat and wind is also an effective prevention for dry eyes. Keeping rooms more moist through the use of a humidifier helps decrease the rate at which tears evaporate. This helps keep your eyes moist so they won’t dry up. Studies also show that consumption of foods or supplements high in omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids help reduce the incidence of dry eyes.
  2. Resolve underlying causes of dry eyes.
    Dry eye can be caused by conditions such as diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, or autoimmune diseases. The best way to cure dry eyes is to keep the underlying causal condition in check whenever possible. If dry eyes are caused by medication interactions, talk to the prescribing doctor. They will let you know if there are alternative medications that will not cause dry eye syndrome as a side effect.
  3. Use the right contact lenses.
    Many contact lens wearers experience dry eyes as a result of their contacts. The best way to mitigate dry eye symptoms is to simply switch the type of contacts worn. Daily disposable lenses are the best option for dry eye wearers. Throwing them away at the end of each day reduces the chance of dirt deposits that can cause discomfort. Silicone hydrogel contact lenses and low water contact lenses are also good options for dry eye sufferers. If your contacts are giving you dry eyes, contact us so we can get you in a more optimal lens.
  4. Use artificial tears.
    For dry eye sufferers with moderate symptoms, one of the most common treatments are over-the-counter artificial tear drops. Artificial tear drops work by simply moistening the eye to mitigate dry eye symptoms.
  5. Use prescription medications.
    There is a variety of prescription medications used for the treatment of dry eye syndrome, given either orally or as drops. Prescription medications for the treatment of dry eyes focus on reducing inflammation in the eyes as well as stimulating oil production in the glands around the eyes. If over-the counter medications,  mitigating environmental factors, and eliminating underlying causes aren’t enough to fix your dry eyes, call us today to talk to an optometrist about prescription dry eye medication.
  6. Reduce tear drainage.
    In the most severe dry eye cases, surgery may become necessary for treatment of symptoms. In dry eye treatment surgeries, the tear ducts are deliberately blocked. This slows the rate at which tears drain from the eyes. As a result, both natural and artificial tears are kept in the eyes longer.
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