Your eyes are some of the body’s most sensitive organs, made up of blood vessels, tissue and nerves. The nerves that control the eye muscles are the same nerves that send pain messages to the brain.
Dry eye is a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. You need these tears for clear vision and to maintain eye health.
If you suffer from dry eyes, your eyes may sting or burn. You may have even sought out some dry eye home solutions to manage the discomfort of your dry eye symptoms. Some people experience dry eyes in certain situations, such as while on a plane, after looking at a computer screen for an extensive amount of time or being exposed to cold or dry air. We will explore the symptoms, causes and treatments to help relieve symptoms of dry eye.
You should always consult your doctor or eye care professional if you have continued symptoms and indications of dry eyes, such as red, irritated, tired or painful eyes. Dry eye will typically affect both eyes.
What Is Dry Eye?
There are more than three million cases of dry eye in the United States alone. Dry eye, a common and sometimes chronic problem, happens when you don’t have enough tears to lubricate the eyes. If your tear production or tear drainage is unbalanced, dry eye can occur. Your tears are your body’s natural lubricant and cleanser. You need tears to wash the eye’s surface, which helps reduce the risk of eye infection. Tears are comprised of water, oils, healthy mucus and antibodies.
What Are Some Symptoms of Dry Eye?
Dry eye will typically affect both eyes. Indications and symptoms may include a combination of the following:
- A scratching, stinging, or burning sensation in your eyes
- Excess mucus in or around your eyes
- Sudden onset sensitivity to light
- A gritty feeling between your eye and eyelid
- Discomfort wearing contact lenses
- Blurred vision or eye fatigue
What Causes Dry Eye?
Dry eyes occur when your body’s tear production is disrupted, or your tear film is affected. The tear film is a thin fluid layer that covers the outer surfaces of the eye. A healthy tear film has three layers: oils, aqueous fluid and mucus. This blend keeps the eye’s surface lubricated, smooth and supports clear vision. Difficulties with any of these layers can cause dry eyes.
Dry eyes can be caused by:
- Decreased tear production
- Increased tear evaporation
- Shifts in hormones, such as menopause
- Autoimmune disease
- Certain prescriptions or antihistamines
- Diseases that affect your ability to make tears, such as rheumatoid arthritis, allergic eye disease, or collagen vascular diseases
You should see your eye care specialist or doctor to diagnose your eye symptoms and to discuss dry eye treatments. Knowing what’s causing your dry eye will be the key to finding the best way to treat your symptoms. Your doctor may perform a comprehensive eye exam, a Schirmer test to measure the volume and tears production or a tear osmolarity test, which measures particles and water composition in your tears. After these clinical evaluations, your doctor may recommend a prescription or dry eye home treatments to help with the symptoms.
Anyone can experience dry eye, but some people are more likely to suffer from it. Higher risk groups include:
- Individuals aged 50 and older. Tear production wanes as you age, which is why dry eyes are more common in people over 50.
- Women. Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, birth control pills, or menopause make women more at risk of suffering from dry eyes.
- People with diets low in vitamin A, C, and E, or omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin A and omega-3 oils have a direct link to eye health.
- People with autoimmune conditions. If you are suffering from certain autoimmune diseases, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, you may be more at risk for dry eye.
- Contact lens wearers. Wearing contact lenses for extended periods of time can result in dry eye symptoms.
It’s important to see a doctor to have the proper tests and procedures administered to diagnose the cause of your dry eye symptoms.
What are Some Dry Eye Remedies?
Dry eye treatments can make you more comfortable by relieving some of the symptoms of dry eye. Home treatments include lifestyle changes, good eye hygiene and over-the-counter eye drops. You’ll want to incorporate these remedies into your daily lifestyle to help manage the symptoms of dry eyes. While there’s presently no cure for dry eye, there are various options to alleviate and manage symptoms.
Symptom relief from dry eyes can be helped by:
- Incorporating supplements for eye health. By adding vitamins that are good for your eyes into your daily vitamin regimen, you can improve your eyes’ health. Consuming supplements to support tear production with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, C or E, may stimulate tear production and produce better-quality tears.
- Using artificial tears. Over-the-counter eye drops are a common treatment for mild dry eye. There are also over-the-counter moisturizing gels and ointments you can purchase without a prescription to help your eyes feel better.
- Changing your diet. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water (8 to 10 eight-ounce glasses) each day. Following a healthy diet is not only a key to eye health, but for overall wellness in general. This diet includes avoiding fast food and overly-processed food, sugar and foods high in fat and/or cholesterol.
- Using special contact lenses. You should inquire with your doctor about customized contact lenses designed for people with dry eyes. These special contact lenses better protect the eyes’ surface and contain more moisture than typical lenses.
- Keep your eyelids and eyelash clean. While everyone knows how important it is to wash one’s face regularly, many don’t recognize that taking care of one’s eyes should also be part of a daily routine. Using eyelid wipes as part of your daily eyelid hygiene helps keep your eyelids and lashes clean and free of debris. If you wear eye makeup, you should remove your eye makeup after each wear.
Find Eye Care Products That Help Combat Dry Eye Symptoms from Focus Labs
At Focus Labs, we’re dedicated to providing safe, affordable and innovative products to support eye health and improve quality of life. We conduct all of our day-to-day business activities with integrity and respect for others. Shop our selection of eye care products, including gels, eyelid hygiene spray, and wipes, that help combat dry eye symptoms and maintain good eye health.
Have a question or need additional information regarding our line of products? Reach out today for more information.