Dry eyes affect almost everybody at some point in their lives. It’s only becoming more prevalent.
Over 16 million Americans have dry eye syndrome. In reality, the actual number is likely much higher. About half of all adults experience dry eye symptoms like redness, fatigued eyes, swelling, and itchiness.
But what exactly causes this problem? Keep reading to find out why your dry eyes are so itchy!
The Two Types of Dry Eye
There are two main sources of dry eye. The first source is if you’re not producing enough tears.
The second source is if you’re producing tears that are low-quality. It’s important to distinguish the two, as an effective treatment for one will not always help with the other.
Low tear production causes dry eye for obvious reasons. If your eyes don’t make enough tears it means they aren’t hydrated enough.
Tears carry vital nutrients and form a protective barrier around our eyes. Not only will you be experiencing symptoms of dry eye, but you could become more prone to infections as well.
Tear quality is a bit more involved. Tears have three basic components: water, oil, and mucus. The water in the tear holds the nutrients that the eye needs delivered.
The mucus in the tear helps spread the nutrients evenly across the surface of the eye. The oil surrounds the tear, protecting it from evaporating before it has a chance to be effective. For many people that have tears lacking in quality, it’s due to a lack of oil.
Poor tear quality and quantity are not mutually exclusive either. Patients can suffer from both at the same time.
Tear production slows down naturally as a result of aging. This is why many people experience dry eye symptoms more as they get older.
Certain medical conditions like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can affect tear production. They may also cause damage to the tear glands.
Oil production for tears happens in the meibomian glands at the edge of your eyelids. These glands can become blocked up with a deposit of waxy substance. The deposits need to be removed for the meibomian glands to function the right way.
How to Solve Dry Eye
Fixing dry eye usually takes a joint effort to promote enough healthy tears. Things you can do yourself include:
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Staying hydrated
- Stopping smoking
- Taking breaks from screen use regularly
- Avoiding allergens, dust, and other irritating areas
- Using artificial tears to cope with dry eye symptoms rather than rubbing your eyes
Sometimes self help is not enough and you need professional treatment. If that’s the case, come into Chesen Laser Eye Center in West Reading, PA. Our eye doctors can help you understand why your eyes are dry and will come up with a treatment plan that will work! This could include:
- Meibomian gland therapy
- Punctal plugs
- Artificial tear inserts
- Tear stimulating medication
Tired of living with the debilitating symptoms of dry eye syndrome? Get the help you need by scheduling an appointment at Chesen Laser Eye Center in West Reading, PA today!