Did you know… Nearly 16 million Americans suffer from dry eyes? In an effort to educate the public on risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options, nih.gov and PreventBlindness.org have declared July as Dry Eye Awareness Month.
Dry eye happens when your eyes don’t make enough tears to stay wet, or when your tears don’t work correctly. This can make your eyes feel uncomfortable, and in some cases it can also cause vision problems.
Tears play a vital role in the health and function of our eyes. When your tears don’t flow property, it leads to dry eye and causes serious eye problems. Tears serve as our eyes’ first line of defense against irritants like dust and germs, washing them away with every blink. They also enable our eyes to turn and swivel comfortably. When the tears run dry, our eyes are left itchy, irritated, red, and sometimes swollen. Millions of adults in the US alone suffer from dry eye. So why does this happen and what can we do about it?
Causes Of Dry Eye
The tear film in our eyes has a specific composition, consisting of an outer oily layer, a watery layer, and a mucous layer. There are several ways it can be disrupted, each resulting in dry eye. The overall tear production can decrease, tear evaporation can increase due to a disruption of the oily layer, or the composition can become imbalanced. These problems can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Trigeminal Dysphoria
- Contact Lens Wear
- Medications like antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, birth control pills, and others
- Advancing age
- Autoimmune disorders
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy and after menopause
- Dry, windy, or smoky environments
- Seasonal allergies
- Long periods spent staring at a screen can reduce blinking frequency
Relief For Dry Eyes
Whatever the cause is behind dry eye, it’s important to treat it so that it doesn’t have a chance to get worse. Dry eyes are more vulnerable to getting scratched and infected, and without enough tears, vision can become blurred. If your dry eye is the result of too much screen time, try to take frequent breaks and remember to blink normally.
For other causes, artificial tears (eye drops) are a great solution. You can also incorporate more foods rich in Vitamin A and o\Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, such as liver, carrots, broccoli, fish, and walnuts. These are important nutrients for eye health and tear production. You might also want to switch from contact lenses to glasses. Ask your eye doctor for help to treat dry eye.
Dr. Lauretta Justin Can Help!
Your best chance of getting your tears flowing again is to visit Dr. Lauretta Justin so that she can determine the cause of your dry eye and find the treatment that will give you the best results. She can also make sure that the dryness hasn’t led to additional complications.
For any question about your eye health, schedule an appointment with Dr. Lauretta by calling or texting us at 407-292-9812.
Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.