Dry eye happens when your eyes don’t make enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly. This causes them to become red, irritated and swollen. Your eyes may feel dry, gritty, or sore and worsen throughout the day. You may also experience blurred vision or a feeling like there’s something in your eye. Both eyes are usually affected.
Causes of dry eye
There are many potential causes for dry eye. Some of the most common include:
- ageing – dry eye is more common in people over 50
- exposure to hot, dry air
- as a side effect of certain drugs, including antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, contraceptive pills and hormone replacement therapy
- hormonal changes in women, such as menopause or pregnancy
- wearing contact lenses
- seasonal allergies
- laser eye surgery
- blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids)
- long periods of time spent in front of a computer screen
- an existing medical condition such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, thyroid disorders and Sjögren’s syndrome
Dry eye is uncomfortable, but normally not a sign of anything serious. In rare cases severe untreated dry eye can damage the cornea, making it susceptible to ulcers and infection, which could potentially lead to blindness. If your symptoms are severe make an appointment to see us immediately.
How Eye Specialists can help
At Eye Specialists we understand that dry eye can seriously impact your quality of life. By taking a detailed medical history and doing a thorough examination, we can help determine the underlying cause of your dry eye. Based on this information we will design a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Treatment for dry eye may include:
- artificial tear drops and ointments
- medication to reduce inflammation
- temporary plugs to close the ducts in the corners of the eye and slow tear loss
- surgery to close the ducts permanently
If you suffer from persistent dry eye, or your condition is getting worse, make an appointment to see us today.