Dry eye syndrome is a prevalent ocular condition affecting millions worldwide. Understanding this condition, its symptoms, and available treatments is crucial for maintaining optimal eye health. Learn more about what it is, how long it lasts and how to recognise other bad eyesight symptoms to maintain good eye health.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes don’t produce enough tears or when the quality of tears is poor, leading to discomfort, irritation, and sometimes, blurred vision.
Recognising Dry Eye Symptoms
Dry eye syndrome has a number of obvious symptoms and spotting these is key to getting the right treatment.
Common indicators of dry eye syndrome include:
- Persistent dryness or irritation: feeling as if there’s something in your eye or experiencing stinging, burning, or scratchiness.
- Watery eyes: dry eye can often have the opposite expected effect, causing excessive tearing as a response to the eye irritation.
- Blurry vision: difficulty in focusing or occasional blurred vision.
- Sensitivity to light: experiencing discomfort in bright light conditions.
- Stringy mucus: the eyes might produce a stringy discharge.
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses: there may be an increased discomfort or intolerance while wearing contact lenses.
Short vs. Long-term Dry Eye
There are two types of dry eye syndrome: short and long-term. Short-term dry eye is usually triggered by environmental factors like staring at screens for extended periods, dry weather conditions, seasonality or hormonal changes. Long-term dry eye, however, may result from chronic conditions like Sjögren’s syndrome, inflammation, or ageing.
There are a number of treatment options for dry eye syndrome. These include:
- Artificial tears: over-the-counter eye drops can alleviate mild dry eye symptoms.
- Prescription eye drops: for more severe cases, prescription eye drops may be recommended.
- Punctal plugs: small devices inserted into the tear ducts to block drainage and keep the eye moist.
- LipiFlow: a procedure using thermal pulsation to clear blocked glands in the eyelids.
Preventing Dry Eye Problems
Prevention is key when it comes to dry eye! Preventing symptoms involves simple lifestyle changes and habits, all of which are easy to incorporate into your eye health care routine. These include:
- Blink regularly: make sure you blink often, especially during long periods of screen time.
- Stay hydrated: drinking enough water helps maintain moisture levels in the body, including the eyes.
- Proper eyewear: use sunglasses to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays and consider computer glasses to reduce strain.
- Take regular breaks: follow the 20-20-20 rule— for every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Adjust your environment: be aware of your environment including humidity. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air, especially in dry climates or during winter.
Recognising Other Bad Eyesight Symptoms
Apart from the symptoms directly associated with dry eye syndrome, bad eyesight can manifest in various other ways and should be treated promptly.
Symptoms of poor eye health include:
- Headaches or eye strain after reading or using screens
- Difficulty adjusting to different lighting conditions
- Squinting or tilting the head to see clearly,
- Experiencing double vision
- Seeing halos around lights
Any of these signs may indicate refractive errors like astigmatism, nearsightedness, or farsightedness, underscoring the importance of regular eye check-ups to address such issues promptly. Learn more about keeping your eyes healthy, and read more about eye exams and why they are so important, here.
Schedule Your Eye Appointment Today
Don’t ignore the symptoms of dry eye or other ocular health problems! Schedule an appointment with our optometrists for a comprehensive eye check-up. Our experts will assess your condition and provide tailored recommendations to alleviate your discomfort and ensure the health of your eyes.
To schedule your appointment or for more information about dry eye syndrome and other eye health concerns, contact us here today.