The 7 Most Asked Questions About Dry Eyes

woman working on computer takes glasses off to rub dry eyes

If you have ever experienced the pain of dry eyes, you know how irritating and frustrating it can be. This common eye ailment can be a problem for anyone.

Typically, blinking coats your eye with “tear film.” This film is a three-layered substance made of mucous, oil, and water, and generated by your tear ducts to keep your eyes hydrated. Dry eye is a tear film disorder that results from decreased tear production. Symptoms may be temporary for some, but it is a long-lasting condition that can cause long-term effects.

People often have questions about dry eye syndrome, so we’ve addressed a few frequently asked questions below.

What causes dry eyes?

Frequent computer use, which disrupts someone’s normal blinking routine, can cause dry eyes. Contact lenses, medications, wind exposure, and aging can also contribute. Additional risk factors include vitamin A deficiency, allergies, and underlying health problems such as diabetes.

How will I know if I have dry eyes?

Your eyes will feel gritty and dry. They will also appear red and irritated. Other signs to look for include light sensitivity, itching, and blurred vision. This may seem ironic, but it can also cause your eyes to appear watery.

When should I see a doctor?

.If you have had symptoms of dry eyes over a long period of time, see your doctor. They can work with you to figure out the best treatment options.

What will my doctor look for?

Your eye doctor can run tests to check your tear film composition or perform an eye hydration test to measure eye moistness. They can also check for more obvious symptoms such as redness and irritation to eliminate other eye health problems.

How is dry eye treated?

woman reads book for short period of time because her dry eyes are hurting her

Someone can obtain immediate relief using eye drops or artificial tears. A long-term solution is treating the un

derlying cause. Treatments for dry eyes may include but are not limited to medication and diet changes, different contact lenses, or treatment for any medical condition that may cause dehydration.

How can I prevent dry eyes?

You can prevent this disorder by taking breaks when using a computer. For example, after every 15 minutes or so, close your eyes a few seconds to relieve eye strain. Blinking also helps to spread your tears over your eyes evenly. Lastly, avoid smoke, dry environments, and use eye drops to assist lubrication.

What happens if I don’t seek treatment?

Dry eyes can damage the surface of your eyes, leading to inflammation, vision loss, and corneal ulcers. Tears protect the eye surface, which helps reduce the risk of eye infections. Even reading a book can become difficult due to the increased pain and eye strain associated with dry eyes.

Dry eye disease is common and may be a problem for years before severe symptoms are evident, causing many people to delay or disregard treatment. However, it is wise to remain on guard and consider the potential negative effects if you don’t take the proper steps to nip the issue in the bud.

If you are experiencing dry eyes and want to schedule an appointment to start treatment, contact The Eye Center, with locations in Huntsville and Madison, at 256-705-3937.


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