Dry eyes can happen when tears evaporate too quickly, or if the eyes produce too few tears. It is common in humans and in some animals. It can affect one or both eyes, and it can lead to inflammation.
Dry Eye Symptoms
- A gritty feeling
- Feeling like there’s something in your eye
- Light sensitivity
- A stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes
- Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
- Eye redness
- A sensation of having something in your eyes
- Difficulty with nighttime driving
- Watery eyes, which is the body’s response to the irritation of dry eyes
- Blurred vision or eye fatigue
Dry Eyes Causes
Sometimes, there’s a lack of balance in your tear-flow system. Or your air conditioner, heater, or other things around you could dry out your tear film. Other causes include:
- The natural aging process, especially menopause
- Side effects of certain drugslike antihistamines
- Diseases that affect your ability to make tears, like Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and collagen vascular diseases
- Problems that don’t allow your eyelids to close the way they should
Dry Eyes Treatments
There are a number of options. Ask your eye doctor what to do. Treatments include:
- Artificial teardrops and ointments
For mild cases of dry eyes caused by computer use, reading, schoolwork and other situational causes, the best dry eye treatment may simply be frequent use of >artificial tears or other lubricating eye drops.
Using artificial tear drops and ointments is the most common treatment. Many types of drops are available over the counter. No one product works for everyone, so you might have to try a few to figure out the one that’s right for you. If you have chronic dry eye, you need to use the drops even when your eyes feel fine, or they won’t stay wet enough. If your eyes dry out while you sleep, you can use a thick product, like an ointment, at night. You might think about sleeping with airtight goggles on.
- Temporary punctal occlusion
Your doctor might opt to close the punctum, or duct that drains tears from your eye. He might start with a temporary plug designed to dissolve over time. Based on how it works, he’ll know whether permanent plugs will help.
- Nondissolving punctal plugs and punctal occlusion by cautery
Punctal plugs are sometimes used in dry eye treatment to help tears remain on the surface of the eye longer.
Tear plugs are easy to remove, but sometimes they come out on their own or fall down the tear drain. They can make your eyes feel better and lower your need for artificial tears.
- This medical device uses heat and pressure to unclog blocked glands on your eyelids. These glands produce the oil in your tears. It keeps your eye moist and prevents your tears from evaporating.
- Testosterone cream.It doesn’t happen often, but dry eye can be related to a lack of testosterone in the oil glands on your eyelids. The doctor might give you a testosterone cream that you apply to your eyelids. It can help your oil glands work better.
This prescription eye drop helps your eyes boost tear production.Instead of OTC artificial tears, your eye doctor might recommend daily use of a prescription eye drop called Restasis for your dry eye treatment.
These drops are taken twice daily to kick-start tear production.