Dry eyes are annoying. We are driving along, perfectly happy, and all of a sudden – WHAM! – your eyes are dry and you feel like you may just have to pull over and dump a bottle of spring water over your face.
Okay, maybe you’ve actually done that a few times. Insufficient tears, or poor quality tears are the main reasons for this uncomfortable and annoying condition. Tears also help with clarity of vision, so in addition to being uncomfortable, dry eyes also may be associated with not being able to see as clearly as one would like.
Older adults tend to experience dry eyes more regularly than younger people. The water layer of tears is sometimes out of balance, a condition known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). It is also referred to as dry eye syndrome.
It’s important to speak with your eye doctor promptly if you have chronic or regular dry eyes as the condition could ultimately impair your vision. The itchy, burning, gritty, stinging sensation is so uncomfortable that finding a way to relieve the feeling is very important.
Treatments for dry eyes aim to restore or maintain the normal amount of tears in the eye to minimize dryness and related discomfort and to maintain healthy eyes. Mostly treatment includes eye drops and adding moisture to your eyes using specially formulated tear solutions.
Surgery is possible for those with more serious versions of this condition.
Who gets dry eyes?
While everyone can, women are more likely to get dry eyes. Changes in hormones caused by menstruation, certain types of birth control, pregnancy and menopause can all be contributing factors. LASIK surgery can affect the amount of tears produced as can environmental factors like smoggy or smoky air.
Medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and certain medications like antihistamines may also be contributing factors. Reading, staring at a computer or TV for too long can also cause dry eyes. Prolonged use of contact lenses may also contribute.
Take precautions to moisten your eyes if they are uncomfortable. Take a break from contact lenses or screen or reading time if your eyes are overtaxed.