Dry Eye Syndrome

Most people have gotten dry, irritated eyes at some point. In fact, in today’s world of near-constant screen usage, it’s common for your eyes to become dry or feel strained by the end of the day. However, this is different from true chronic dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome is a medical condition in which your eyes do not adequately lubricate themselves—regardless of how much screen time you’ve had that day. Here’s what you need to know about dry eye syndrome and its causes, symptoms, and possible treatments you can receive from an eye doctor in Orlando, FL.

Causes of Dry Eye

Many environmental and lifestyle factors can cause temporary dry eye, but when it comes to chronic dry eye syndrome, this condition is always caused by some imbalance in the tear film over your eye. Your tear film is made up of 3 layers: fatty oils, aqueous fluid, and mucus. These three layers work together to keep the surface of your eyes moist and clear. However, if a problem arises with these three layers, you can experience dry eyes.

Of course, there are many potential causes for the dysfunction of the tear film. These can include autoimmune diseases, inflammation of the eyelid glands, hormone changes, and allergic eye disease, among others. Tear film dysfunction can decrease tear production, cause you to produce lower-quality tears that don’t moisturize as effectively, or increase tear evaporation—all of which can lead to chronically dry eyes.

Symptoms of Chronic Dry Eye

The symptoms of dry eye syndrome are fairly self-explanatory, with the most apparent sign being dryness of the eyes. It can lead to several accompanying symptoms, including the following:

  • A feeling of scratchiness, stinging or burning in your eyes
  • Mucus remnants in or around the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Red eyes
  • Feeling that you have something in your eyes
  • Discomfort wearing contact lenses
  • Difficulty seeing clearly at night
  • Excessively watery eyes (as they respond to eye irritation)
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye fatigue

Again, occasionally experiencing these symptoms is not unusual. If you can pinpoint a specific cause for these symptoms, you don’t need to worry about seeking an immediate eye exam in Orlando. However, suppose you’ve had prolonged symptoms of dry eyes, which are interfering with your ability to perform regular daily tasks or causing severe discomfort. In that case, you should seek eye care services in Orlando, FL, to learn more about how to treat your condition.

Treatment Options for Dry Eyes

If you have chronic dry eye syndrome, we strongly recommend working with Central Florida eye specialists to determine the best treatment options. However, you can make many lifestyle adjustments to help prevent the onset of dry eye symptoms and treat them when they arise.

Here are a few suggestions to prevent dry eyes:

  • Don’t allow air to blow directly into your eyes.
  • Add moisture to the air around you (e.g., placing a humidifier in your home).
  • Consider protective eyewear like wraparound sunglasses to block wind and dry air.
  • If performing tasks that require visual concentration (whether on a screen or not), take periodic breaks. Close your eyes for a few minutes, or blink rapidly for several seconds to help lubricate your eyes.
  • Be aware of your environment. If you’re in a desert, on an airplane, or at a high altitude, rest your eyes more frequently to minimize tear evaporation.
  • Position computer screens below eye level. It allows you to view the screen with a partially-lidded gaze, which helps slow tear evaporation.
  • Avoid smoky places, and stop smoking if you are a smoker yourself.
  • Keep a travel-sized vial of artificial tears with you, and use them regularly to keep your eyes appropriately lubricated.
  • Consider getting glasses from eyeglass stores in Orlando instead of wearing contacts.

In addition to these lifestyle changes to help prevent the development of chronic dry eye symptoms, your optometrist can provide you with other treatment options. It can include treating the underlying cause of your tear film dysfunction or prescribing medications to reduce inflammation. If you have severe dry eye symptoms, they may recommend eye inserts that you place in your eye daily and release a regular supply of artificial tears throughout the day.

About Bay Hill Eye Care

If you suffer from chronic dry eye, Bay Hill Eye Care can help you diagnose the condition and manage your symptoms to live more comfortably. Our family eye care in Orlando, FL, offers the experience, knowledge, and services you need for healthier eyes every day of your life. Call now to schedule your eye exam.