Summer has its share of eye discomforts from things like pollen and dust, but winter can also be pretty hard on eyes. Being mostly indoors in winter where homes and offices are heated with warm, dry air can irritate eyes. Low humidity outside in cold temperatures contributes to the discomfort.
It’s not all winter’s fault though! While dry eyes are more common in winter, many people suffer from dry eye syndrome all year long.
WHAT IS DRY EYE SYNDROME
Dry Eye Syndrome is actually very common, though it’s more prevalent among middle-age women, contact lens wearers and patients with certain medical conditions that make them more susceptible.
Dry Eye Syndrome is a breakdown involving the most superficial layer of the cornea called the “tear film.” Our eyes naturally produce fluids that help maintain and moisturize the tear film. When a patient complains of dry eyes, we often find that they may not be producing enough moisture to maintain the tear film. This leads to a spotty, uneven area in this normally smooth tear film layer.
In other situations, a patient may produce enough moisture on their own, but the tear film may evaporate too quickly, resulting in the same symptoms of dry, itching eyes.
DRY EYE SYMPTOMS
As counter-intuitive as it sounds, watery eyes are a primary symptom of dry eye syndrome. This happens when the eyes water from not producing enough tears, leading to a very watery, stress-induced tear. Other symptoms include redness, fatigue, mild itching and discomfort, headaches (especially toward the day’s end), blurry vision, glaring or halos or a thin mucous discharge.
CAUSES OF DRY EYES
One of the most common causes of Dry Eye Syndrome is long-term, constant computer use. When people stare at a computer monitor for extended periods, it often leads to reduced blink rates and dryer eyes. Glare from the screen can also cause dryness if the area isn’t properly lit.
Patients with chronic Dry Eye Syndrome sometimes suffer from an inadequate amount of tears produced by the glands in and around the eyelids. Tear production from these glands tends to diminish with age and can be effected by other related medical conditions, or even as a side effect of medications taken for other conditions.
Another cause for dry eyes in some patients is the poor quality of their tears. An imbalance in the levels of oil and water in the tears can cause the tears to evaporate too quickly or not spread evenly over the tear film.
TREATMENTS FOR DRY EYES
Office visits and regular eye examinations can help determine the severity of your dry eyes and start you on a correct course of treatment and, hopefully, helping you feel more comfortable. Either of our Central Ohio eye care centers can diagnose and prescribe treatments for dry eyes.
Treatments can sometimes include over-the-counter treatments, and we’re happy to recommend the best eye drops for dry eyes over the counter. Other treatments include artificial tears, warm compresses, prescription medications, in-office therapies such as punctal plugs, or supplements and/or vitamins such as Omega 3s.
Daily contact lenses offer a great option for patients with dry eyes caused by wearing contact lenses since they get to wear a fresh, moist lens daily, rather than using the same lenses for a month. We offer a wide selection of contact lenses, and can work with you to find the best solution for your eyes and your lifestyle. Plus, you can order contacts and refills through our online contact lens store, here http://www.bresloweyecare.com/order-contacts-online/ .
COME TO BRESLOW EYE CARE FOR DRY EYES AND DRY EYE SYMPTOMS
We look forward to helping relieve your discomfort so you can enjoy each day without dry eyes. And remember, with our comprehensive eye exams, complete with retinal photography, we can often spot other medical conditions in your body before a general physician can. So if you haven’t had an eye exam in a while, and if you’re suffering from dry eyes, call or email today for an appointment! We have two convenient locations in downtown Bexley, right near downtown Columbus, Ohio, and in Carrol, just north of Lancaster, Ohio.
Hope to see you soon!