Do your eyes constantly feel itchy and uncomfortable no matter what you do? Do you find that you always have to resort to eye drops or constant blinking for your eyes to feel their best? You may be experiencing Dry Eye Syndrome.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Ideally, the eye is made to constantly be lubricating and cleaning itself with tears, produced at a slow and steady rate to keep the eye moist and comfortable. Healthy tears will consist of three layers:
The oily layer is on the outside of the tear to slow evaporation of the tear.
The watery layer is sandwiched in the middle, and is used to clean the eye by washing away small particles such as sand and dust, as well as slightly larger foreign objects, such as eyelashes.
The mucus layer makes up the core of the tear, allowing the watery layer to stick to the eye and spread evenly, in order to keep the eye lubricated.
Dry Eye Syndrome is defined either by a shortage of tears altogether, or when the tears produced lack one or more of the essential ingredients mentioned above. This can occur for many reasons, including hormonal changes, side effects from medication, cold or dry environmental conditions and more. Symptoms may include stinging or burning in the eyes as well as an itchy or grainy feeling and excessive irritation.
The eyes’ response to the consistent irritation caused by dry eyes sometimes causes a great deal of tearing, as the eye attempts to flush and lubricate itself by producing more tears, but is unable to do so successfully due to the rate of evaporation or inability to spread the tears properly.
Treating and Preventing Dry Eye Syndrome
Although Dry Eye Syndrome is not curable, Dr. Rahul Singh and his eyecare team at Insight Eyecare Center in Scotts Valley and Capitola often prescribe artificial tears to help with symptoms. While all artificial tears aim to help reduce the characteristic dryness that makes Dry Eye Syndrome so uncomfortable, different artificial tears work in different ways, and your eye doctor will be able to find a type of artificial tears that is tailored to your particular needs.
Some cases of dry eyes may come and go with certain types of weather or the seasons. In this case, your optometrist may recommend wearing sunglasses or goggles when outdoors to reduce your eyes’ exposure to the sun, wind and dust. For the house and other indoor settings, an air cleaner and humidifier may help, by taking dust out of the air and adding moisture to dry air.
For more information, and to have Dr. Singh help you with your dry eyes, make an appointment today!