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Dry Eye Syndrome
Every time you blink, your healthy eyes get a bath from a fluid that's a combination of oil, water, and mucus. This fluid, or tears, helps protect and moisturize the eyes. When something irritates your eyes or interferes with the production of tears, it can result in irritated dry eyes that are vulnerable to corneal abrasions.
Dry eyes are actually very common. More than 20 million Americans suffer from this annoying and sometimes painful condition. If you think you have dry eyes, check out some of these common symptoms and possible causes. Once you understand the culprit, you can begin to make changes to relieve your burning eyes, once and for all.
Symptoms of Dry Eyes:
Dry, itchy, or burning eyes
A scratching sensation, or feeling like there's grit in the eyes
Sensitivity to light causing squinting and blinking
Difficulty focusing because of dryness
Both eyes are usually affected
Watery eyes (a little-known fact!)
How to Treat Dry Eyes:
Avoid drafts and use a humidifier to put moisture back into dry air.
If allergies are causing your eyes ...
... to itch and dry out, try lubricating, preservative-free eye drops formulated for people with allergies.
Check the side effects of your medications. If you're taking one that causes dry eyes, your doctor may need to change your prescription, or she may recommend that you begin using eye drops to lubricate your eyes.
Don't wear your contacts for too long, keep them clean, and always wash your hands before handling them.
Take frequent breaks from computer work or reading, and keep your eyes lubricated by remembering to blink often.
Turn off ceiling fans when possible.
Lay a warm, damp washcloth across your eyelids for a couple minutes.
Ask your VSP network doctor about punctal plugs which block tears from draining from the eye.
For a refreshing sensation, cool your eye drops in the refrigerator about an hour before using them.
Check expiration dates on your eye drops.
Never share eye drops.
Drink plenty of water.
Wear sunglasses outside to protect your eyes from wind and sun.
Take an omega-3 fatty-acid supplement; shown to restore lipids-they're a key component of tears.
Common Causes of Dry Eyes:
Dry air caused by indoor heaters
Some medications like antihistamines, antidepressants, and birth-control pills
Poor fitting or dirty contacts
Long hours spent reading or staring at a computer screen
Blocked tear ducts
For more details on what causes dry eyes, read Why Are My Eyes So Dry?
With a few simple changes you could begin to notice a real improvement. If after one month your eyes are still bothering you, make sure to see your eye doctor—severe cases can lead to eye damage and vision loss. During your eye exam, your doctor can check for vision problems and signs of health conditions that could be causing your dry eyes. An accurate diagnosis is important because symptoms of dry eye can be caused by other things like allergies or uncorrected refractive error or astigmatism.
Tatum Eyecare is North Phoenix’s premier family eye care center. We’ve spared no expense to create the most pleasant, comfortable patient experience… including the finest furnishings, the best selection of prescription eyeglass frames, the most cutting-edge technology, and the most outstanding team of industry professionals. Come see why the choice for family eye care in the Valley has never been clearer.
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