Dry Eye Syndrome: What Are the Symptoms?
By Walter Choate on October 28, 2017
At Choate Eye Associates, we take all kinds of eye care and vision issues seriously. It's our goal to help the people of Nashville enjoy the world around them and experience the wonders of great eyesight.
Dry eye syndrome can be extremely bothersome, impacting your vision and even the way you function in daily life. Let's take a moment to consider the causes and symptoms of dry eye syndrome. We'll then briefly cover some options for treatment and management.
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition that relates to the moisture in a person's eyes. When someone suffers from dry eye syndrome, their eyes are often irritated, itchy, and red because of a lack of eye moisture.
While dry eye can occur for a variety of reasons such as smoky environments, poor hydration, and wearing contact lenses for too long, dry eye syndrome is a specific condition in which a person regularly suffers from these dry eye attacks.
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
There are two common causes of dry eye syndrome. One is a lack of tear production, meaning that the tear ducts of the eyes are blocked or simply not creating enough eye moisture. The other cause is an issue of tear quality, meaning that a person's tears are not composed of the right substances. A person's tear's are comprised of oil, water, and mucus. When these components are off-balance, it can lead to tears evaporating too quickly or simply not coating the eye properly.
There are many actions that can trigger a dry eye attack or make a dry eye attack more likely. This could include any of the following:
- Staring at a monitor for too long
- Use of certain medications
- Changes in hormone levels
- Low-humidity environments
- Use of certain eye makeup
Common Symptoms of Dry Eye
The most common symptoms people complain of when they suffer from dry eye syndrome include the following:
- Burning sensations in the eyes
- Grittiness in the eyes
- Redness in or around the eyes
- Irritation around the eyes
- Frequent blinking
- Blurry or hazy vision
- Eye strain
- Sudden eye pain
If you notice any of these symptoms and experience frequent dry eye attacks, be sure to speak with an eye care specialist about your options for treatment.
Risk Factors for Dry Eye Syndrome
In addition to the causes and symptoms we noted above, be mindful of the following risk factors:
- Advanced age
- Gender (more likely in women)
- Presence of autoimmune diseases
- Inflammatory skin or eye diseases
- Previous laser eye surgery
Treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome
There are many options for treating dry eye, though it's important to identify the cause of the problem. If a patient suffers from diminished tear production, it's important that the underlying condition be addressed. As the underlying problem is treated, the dry eye itself can be managed through the use of lubricating eye drops.
For other cases of dry eye, punctal plugs, medications, and other kinds of procedure may be recommended. These treatments can help improve the flow of tears, alter the composition of tears, or simply help reduce discomfort as dry eye attacks occur.
The first step to treatment is stopping by the practice for an eye exam. We can note the structures of your eye and also analyze your tear composition. This will help us develop the right treatment or combination of treatments for you.
Learn More About Dry Eye Syndrome
For more information about dry eye syndrome and how we can help you see clearly and comfortably, be sure to contact the vision specialists of Choate Eye Associates today. We look forward to your visit and discussing these matters with you in greater detail.
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“I am very pleased with the attention I received at Choate Eye Associates. Dr. Choate is very thorough and does a wonderful job of explaining what he is doing and what he is looking for in the exam.” Dianal - Comprehensive Eye Care Patient