Dry eyes can be common during the winter because of the presence of cold, dry air.
Tears are necessary for healthy eyes. They wash out the eye of any dust or particles and keep the eyes moist and comfortable. They also contain enzymes that guard the eyes against microorganisms that can be found in the eye.
In instances where the eyes do not produce adequate amounts of tears, the results are often discomfort such as persistent dryness, stinging, itching or a foreign body sensation. Ironically, dry eyes occasionally causes watery eyes if the eyes overstimulate tear production to make up for dryness.
There are several causes of dry eye syndrome. One factor is age since it is usually adults that complain of dry eye syndrome, and often women going through menopause. Reduction in tear production can also be a result of many medications. Climate that is particularly dusty, or dry heat or air circulation are also known to be the cause. Additionally, certain systemic diseases or problems with tear production, continual sitting in front of a computer screen which can cause insufficient blinking or usage of contact lenses can contribute to dry eye syndrome.
The symptoms associated with dry eye syndrome can often be relieved by using artificial tears to reduce dryness. It’s advisable to consult with your eye doctor to make sure you are using the right eye drops in the right way. If over the counter drops don’t help you may need Rx drops that stimulate tear production.
If eye drops don’t relieve your discomfort, your optometrist might suggest Lacrisert, an insert placed inside the eyelid that lets out lubricants at various intervals. Another option could be lacrimal plugs which help the eye maintain moisture by slowing the drainage of tears. Some eye doctors may discuss a few dietary or environmental modifications to relieve discomfort.
For the majority of individuals dry eye syndrome does not damage your eyes permanently but can be a nuisance. Although, very serious cases have a chance of making you more at risk of infection so it is advised to speak to your eye doctor.
If you are feeling symptoms of dry eye visit your optometrist as soon as possible!