Dry eye is an eye condition that affects millions of people every year and has distinct symptoms. Even though the symptoms may be mild at first, it is important to recognize them and treat your dry eye.
Left untreated, dry eye only gets worse. It can also develop into other eye conditions like corneal abrasions and ulcers.
Severe dry eye complications can lead to scarring that permanently affects your vision. Keep reading to learn more about dry eye!
Dry Eye Symptoms
Dry eye manifests in different ways. For most people, it includes a combination of the following symptoms.
Itchiness and irritation are some of the most recognizable symptoms of dry eye. It can be tempting to rub your eyes for relief, but it only causes damage to them.
When your eyes are irritated, they become red as a natural response to the irritation. Blood vessels in the eye swell, giving your eyes a fatigued appearance.
You may notice a mucus discharge around your eyes if you have a more advanced stage of dry eye syndrome. With dry eye, you’re also more likely to experience light sensitivity.
Although your eyes are dry, you may notice your eyes becoming more watery. This is your body overcompensating for the lack of hydration in your eyes.
When you have dry eye, your tears lack the correct nutrients they need. Healthy tears are made up of mucous, water, and oil.
With dry eye, if you are missing any of these components, it can cause your eyes to feel dry, gritty, or painful.
Treating Dry Eye
If you have dry eye, the key is coming up with a treatment plan that treats the root cause of your symptoms. If your dry eye isn’t too advanced, it should also include preventative measures.
Preventing Dry Eye
Dry eye prevention works by removing or otherwise avoiding things that cause dry eye. This could include the following:
- Purchasing humidifiers for your home to add moisture to the air
- Using air filters to remove airborne particles
- Wearing safety goggles when appropriate
- Not going outside during high pollen counts
- Quitting smoking if you are a smoker
- Reducing your screen time
Preventative measures may not be enough to treat your dry eye symptoms. If this is the case, your eye doctor may recommend other options to try at the same time.
If your dry eye continues, then you may consider eye drops. Eye drops are a fantastic way to fight inflammation.
Eye drops are unlikely to fix the root source of your dry eye. They are best used as a temporary fix while treating your dry eye symptoms.
Be sure to use the correct method of applying eye drops, and keep the process sanitary. This is because dry eye increases your risk of infection.
If you need medical help, there are several options depending on what’s causing your dry eye. If you are not producing enough tears, you may have your tear ducts blocked with punctal plugs.
Punctal plugs come in temporary and semi-permanent options. They are tiny inserts used to block your tear ducts. This allows tears to stay in your eyes longer while hydrating them as well.
Another option is a prescription insert called Lacrisert. Lacrisert is for sufferers of moderate to severe dry eye.
With Lacrisert, the insert is inserted into the eye to provide 24-hour relief of dry eye symptoms. It slowly releases lubrication throughout the day while stabilizing and thickening the tear film.
Meibomian Gland Expression
If your tears don’t have enough oil to stop them from evaporating, then you may need “meibomian gland expression”. Meibomian gland expression gently unblocks the oil-producing glands in your eyelids. It is a painless therapy to undergo for dry eye relief.
There are many other dry eye treatments available, depending on your symptoms. Talk to your eye doctor about your dry eye symptoms and their severity.
Tired of living with the frustrating symptoms of dry eye syndrome? Premier Eye Care of Eastern Idaho is here to help! Schedule an appointment with us in Idaho Falls, ID today!