Chronic Dry Eye: Symptoms, Causes & How to Treat It
It’s crucial that you take proactive steps to keep your eyes healthy and free from irritation. Unfortunately, chronic dry eye can develop in individuals and leave them feeling uncomfortable and unable to see clearly. But what is chronic dry eye? What causes dry eye? And, what methods should you take to alleviate chronic dry eye symptoms? The experts at Focus Labs have you covered. Read on to learn all the information you need to prevent your eyes from burning or experiencing soreness.
What Is Chronic Dry Eye?
Every once in a while, our eyes become irritated, scratchy or burn for a variety of reasons. From “getting something in our eye” to staring at a screen for a long period of time, we can develop blurry vision and discomfort in a matter of seconds. Fortunately, this discomfort often goes away if we use eye drops (or solution for our contacts), gently rub our eyes or cry. However, for some people, this unpleasant sensation can be prolonged and happen more often than it should — a condition known as chronic dry eye.
Unlike normal circumstances where your eyes would become dry for only a few moments, chronic dry eye is a condition that can last for months or even years. In fact, even if you apply multiple treatment methods, chronic dry eye symptoms may never fully disappear, and they can get worse (or better) at any point.
Chronic Dry Eye Symptoms
Chronic dry eye symptoms are virtually no different than what you would experience from regular, short-term dry eye symptoms. However, because it’s a long-term problem, you may manifest more severe problems. Commonly, chronic dry eye causes:
- Light sensitivity
- Mucus in and around the eyes
- Redness of the eyes
- Blurry vision
- Eyes watering
- Eyes burning, scratchy or stinging
These chronic dry eye symptoms simply scratch the surface — more serious ailments can burden your eyes and leave you feeling helpless. For instance, complications such as damage to the surface of your eyes, infections and decreased quality of life  can impact you and impair your vision for a long time.
What Causes Chronic Dry Eye?
Unlike standard dry eye symptoms, chronic issues stem from more complex problems. Sure, if you are constantly straining your eyes from watching television or using your computer, this can lead to long-term issues. However, what causes chronic dry eye conditions is far more complicated. When you cannot produce many tears, or they evaporate quickly, it leads to long-lasting dryness. These disorders are associated with three common factors: age, diseases and drug-related side effects.
Chronic dry eye is closely related to aging. In fact, tear production starts to take a turn for the worst as we get older, and dry eye symptoms are more prevalent in people, especially women, who are over 50 years old .
Sadly, there are a number of ailments that lead to or exacerbate chronic dry eye symptoms. Some of these are actual infections of the eye, such as allergic eye disease or keratoconjunctivitis sicca, which is a medical condition that causes decreased tear production . But then there are medical disorders that cause this lack of production (or tear evaporation), including Sjögren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Parkinson’s disease.
Drug-Related Side Effects
It’s often said that the side effects of drugs like antihistamines play a role in causing chronic dry eye . Other potential culprits include antidepressants, birth control pills and drugs for high blood pressure .
How to Alleviate Chronic Dry Eye Symptoms
Now that you have a better understanding of chronic dry eye symptoms and what causes them, it’s important that you know how to alleviate and potentially treat this unwanted discomfort. Most people with chronic dry eye issues use over-the-counter eye drops, or artificial tears, many times throughout the day . They may also use antibiotics that are prescribed by doctors or try taking omega-3 supplements . However, when needed, some individuals who suffer from chronic dry eye may resort to procedures that can clean blocked oil glands or seal tear ducts . However, when needed, some individuals who suffer from chronic dry eye may resort to procedures that can clean blocked oil glands or seal tear ducts 
Keep in mind that all of these methods depend entirely on the severity of your chronic dry eye symptoms, and what treatment your doctor feels is right for you since some treatments may work better than others. With that being said, you should consult your doctor if you have any questions about these techniques and procedures.
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