What Causes Dry Eyes?

 In Eyecare Blog & Vision Resources

Dry eyes happen when the eye does not efficiently produce tears or when the tears are inconsistent leading them to evaporate too quickly. Tears are a combination of water, oils, mucus, antibodies, and different proteins. When tears do not sufficiently lubricate the eye, a person may undergo symptoms such as:

  • Light sensitivity
  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Blurry vision
  • Gritty sensation
  • A feeling of a foreign object or sand in the eye
  • Heavy eyelids

Dry Eyes

Furthermore, other causes of dry eyes are; due to dry air from the air conditioning, heat, and other environmental situations; aging processes such as menopause and health complications; side effects of drug medications; and diseases that affect the ability to make tears like Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Types of Dry Eye

  • Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye – a condition which the Lacrimal Glands fail to supply enough watery component of tears to sustain a good eye surface.
  • Evaporative dry eye – a consequence of Meibomian Gland Inflammation located in the eyelids. These glands produce the Lipid part of tears that lags the evaporation and preserved the tears’ stability.

How to Treat Dry Eyes

Below are some common treatment of dry eyes, however, you should discuss treatment with your eye doctor to know which suits you best for your condition.

  • Ointments or Eyedrops. Eyedrops (artificial tears) are available even without a prescription, and it’s the first medication for dry eyes. However, artificial tear drops don’t work for everyone, so you might have to explore to find the drop that works for you.
  • Drugs to reduce eyelid inflammation. Swelling along the edge of the eyelids can prevent oil glands from secreting oil into your tears. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to reduce swelling.
  • Lipiflow. A medical device that works with heat and pressure on the eyelids to unblock blocked glands. These glands form oil as part of the tear film. The oil lubes the eye and averts tears from evaporating.
  • Tear-stimulating drugs. Drugs called Cholinergic (pilocarpine, cevimeline) aids in boosting tear production. It is available as pills, gel or eyedrops and has possible side effects.


How to Prevent Having Dry Eyes

Preventions are always better than cures, so avoid conditions that will cause dry eyes and allow your eyes to rest when doing activities that require the prolonging use of your eyes. When outside, wear sunglasses that fit close to the face, it can help slow tear evaporation from the eye surfaces.

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