Symptoms and Causes of Dry Eye Syndrome
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Left untreated it can actually impair the vision and leave the sufferer more susceptible to eye infections.
What are the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome?
There are several warning signs of chronically dry eyes, and some of them may not be as obvious as you might think:
- Redness—If your eyes are bloodshot, even if you’re getting plenty of rest and not overindulging at cocktail hour, it could be a sign of Dry Eye Syndrome.
- Scratchy, irritated eyes—People who suffer from chronically dry eyes often feel as though a small piece or dirt or sand is lodged in the eye.
- Sensitivity to light—Dry Eye Syndrome can cause a great deal of discomfort in bright-light conditions.
- Blurred vision—Without adequate lubrication, a person’s vision can be impaired due to chronically dry eyes.
- Watery eyes—Excessive watering could actually be a sign of Dry Eye Syndrome. Dry eyes send distress signs to the nervous system, which in turn produces an abundance of tears. The problem is that this liquid doesn’t contain the same lubricating properties as regular tears, which are a combination of water, oils and mucus.
Where you live, your age, your health and the drugs you take can affect how much lubrication your body produces for the eyes.
- Aging—It’s natural for us to produce less tears as we grow older. But in the case of menopausal women, who may be experiencing a lack of estrogen in their systems, it’s particularly common.
- Environment—It probably goes without saying that an arid environment can make a dry eye problem even worse. Just as a desert environment can dry out your skin or your nasal passages, it can do the same to your eyes.
- Disease—Some diseases make people more susceptible to Dry Eye Syndrome, including collagen vascular diseases and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Drugs—Some over-the-counter cold remedies, such as antihistamines, can result in dry eyes. Prolonged use of birth control pills can also be a contributing factor.
- Eyelid abnormalities—If your eyelids don’t close properly, it can result in Dry Eye Syndrome.
The first thing to remember about Dry Eye Syndrome is what not to do. Avoid any over-the-counter eye drop that advertises its ability to reduce eye redness. These drops often dry out the eyes even more! Instead, if you’re looking for an over-the-counter solution, try an “artificial tear” drop instead. If you suffer from a severe case of dry eyes, there are several excellent prescription medications available. Nutritional supplements can help in some cases. Even moisture goggles and punctual plugs can be used in extreme cases. Talk to your optometrist or opthamologist about the right treatment for you.
Mark Masters is a blogger for Broberg Eye Care http://www.brobergeyecare.com, located in Austin, Texas.
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