Dry eye syndrome is common in the winter time due to the circulation of cold, dry air.
Your eyes need tears to stay healthy. They wash any dust or particles out of the eye and keep the eyes moist and comfortable. They also contain enzymes that eliminate microorganisms that are occasionally present in the eye.
For individuals whose eyes lack sufficient tears, symptoms can present themselves such as constant dryness, burning, itching or a foreign body sensation. To the surprise of many, dry eyes often cause eyes to water excessively to try to compensate for inadequate tearing.
A number of factors can result in dry eye syndrome. The first factor is age since it is usually adults that complain of dry eye syndrome, and often women during menopause. Reduction in tear production can also result from certain medicines. Dry or dusty air, and indoor dry heating or air conditioning are also known to cause or worsen dry eyes. Additionally, certain systemic diseases or deficiencies in producing tears, continual use of the computer or use of contact lenses can contribute to dry eyes.
The symptoms associated with dry eyes can often be alleviated by using lubricating eye drops to put moisture back into the eye. Your optometrist can show you which eye drops to get and how to use them. If over the counter drops don’t help your doctor might prescribe Rx drops that actually help your eyes to produce more tears.
For more serious cases, your eye care professional might want to try Lacrisert, an insert placed inside the eyelid that lets out moisturizing ingredients at various intervals. Another option is punctual plugs which help keep moisture on the eye by keeping tear flow at bay. Some eye doctors may suggest you try nutritional supplements or environmental modifications to lessen the symptoms as well.
For the majority of individuals, dry eye syndrome will not harm your eyes permanently but can be a discomfort. However, very serious dry eyes have a chance of making you more susceptible to infection so it is advised to consult with your eye doctor.
If you are suffering from dry, itchy, burning eyes, it could be dry eye syndrome so visit your optometrist as soon as possible!