When the eyes do not make enough tears, or tears begin to evaporate too quickly, dry eye syndrome occurs. This is usually a result of the oil glands becoming blocked or functioning abnormally. When this happens, your eyes can become dry, swollen, inflamed, and irritated. This is a condition that can soon become problematic, and it can prevent you from enjoying every day life as you should. If you feel that you are displaying the symptoms of dry eye syndrome, you should seek advice from an eye doctor.
Dry Eye Syndrome – The Symptoms
Depending on the nature of your condition, the symptoms of dry eye syndrome can range from mild to severe:
* Consistent feelings of dryness or grittiness that progressively worsen throughout the day.
* Bloodshot eyes.
* Eyelids that stick together when you wake up.
* Photophobia (sensitivity to light).
* Extremely red eyes.
* Extremely painful or irritated eyes.
* Blurred or deteriorating vision.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, they should not be ignored. Catching dry eye syndrome as the milder symptoms start to show will prevent you from developing severe ones. If you are displaying severe symptoms, this could be a sign that you have sustained damage to your cornea, which could permanently affect your vision.
Dry Eye Syndrome – Causes
The causes of dry eye syndrome can vary. While some people may develop it due to living in a very hot or windy climate, others may experience it as a result of aging. In addition to this, medications like antihistamines, antidepressants, beta-blockers, and diuretics can also cause dry eye syndrome. Certain medical conditions can cause dry eye syndrome; these include dermatitis, allergic conjunctivitis, Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, shingles, Bell’s palsy, and HIV.
When dry eye syndrome does occur, it can come as a result of one or all parts of the eye’s tear production centers not functioning. This can include your lacrimal gland, your goblet cells, your eyelid, cornea, conjunctiva, and tear ducts. If one part of your lacrimal functioning unit does not function as it should, the others may fail to do so too.
Dry Eye Syndrome – Treatment
The treatment you will undergo for dry eye syndrome will depend on the severity of the problem. The most common way to treat this condition is through the use of lubricants, which can come in the form of eye drops, ointments, and gels. Although many of these are available without a prescription, the most effective ones can only be prescribed by an eye doctor.
If your eye doctor believes that your condition may be due to inflammation, you will be prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication. These can come in the form of steroid eye drop treatments, oral tetracyclines, or ciclosporing eye drops.
Sometimes it is the case that dry eye syndrome arises as a result of a complex underlying medical case. If this is the case, your eye doctor will assess and address the underlying cause of the disease. In extreme cases, surgery is needed to correct the parts of the eye that are not functioning as they should.
Regardless of the cause or severity of your condition, the sooner you seek treatment the better. Dry eye syndrome that is left untreated can rapidly worsen, and will become problematic. If you suspect you have the condition, contact an eye doctor as soon as possible.
Special thanks to Brighton Optical in Buffalo, NY for contributing this article. Please visit the Brighton Optical website at www.brightonoptical.com and the Brighton Optical blog at www.blog.brightonoptical.com.