Dry eyes may be a sensation and a symptom, but they are also an actual optical condition and one that surprisingly few people have heard of despite it being very common. As you might have guessed, the main symptom of dry eyes is… that’s right, eyes that feel particularly dry and uncomfortable. This may not sound very serious, but dry eye or dry eye syndrome as it is commonly referred to can have a very real impact on the day-to-day lives of those that it affects.
Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments that can be used to relieve the symptoms associated with dry eyes and help sufferers to enjoy a better quality of life. Our experienced and dedicated team will be happy to help you find the most suitable and effective solution based on your unique requirements.
The tear film is an important substance that helps to keep our eyes healthy and functioning properly. It is made up of a mixture of protein, oil, and water and is made by small glands in each eye called the lacrimal glands. Dry eye syndrome is a condition characterized by a lack of natural tear film in the eyes. There are primarily two reasons why this occurs. The glands responsible for making tear film may not be functioning correctly, or the tear film may be draining too quickly, leaving the eyes lacking in lubrication.
Exactly why some people experience dry eyes and others don’t isn’t always clear, but there are some factors that are believed to directly contribute towards the development of the condition. These are:
Advancing age: around a third of people aged over 65 have experienced dry eyes
Hormonal imbalances such as those that occur during pregnancy
Blepharitis or other eye conditions
Being diagnosed with myopia (near-sightedness)
Side effects from taking medications, including some used to treat high blood pressure and depression
Spending large amounts of time looking at screens
Working in a very dry, dusty environment
A diagnosis of specific diseases, such as collagen vascular disease
In many cases, dry eyes will resolve themselves without any professional intervention. However, if your condition persists for more than a week, or you experience repeated episodes, you likely need professional treatment to give you sufficient relief from your symptoms. These symptoms may include:
Eyes that feel dry and stiff to move around
A gritty feeling in your eyes
If you have been diagnosed with dry eyes, our team will be delighted to talk you through the treatment options that are available to you. In the first instance, we may make some recommendations as to lifestyle changes that you can make that may improve your symptoms and make day to day life much more comfortable. For example, cutting back on your screen time has been proven to have a positive effect on the reduction of dry eye syndrome. If medication that you are currently taking may be causing your dry eyes, it may be possible to find an alternative drug that is still effective but that no longer causes this side effect.
If lifestyle changes don’t provide enough relief from your dry eyes, we will likely recommend that you try eye drops. This is usually the first line of treatment and often proves very effective. There are several different types of eye drops available, and you may need to try several to find the right variety to alleviate your symptoms.
Finally, punctual plugs are another fairly common treatment for dry eyes. Although they sound like they may be harsh, these tiny devices actually fit painlessly into parts of your eye to prevent tear film from draining too quickly.
To find out more about dry eyes, or to arrange an appointment with our experienced and dedicated team, please get in touch with StylEyes in West Des Moines, IA today by calling (515) 225-6447.