Do your eyes constantly feel itchy? Are you frequently rubbing them and using eye drops? Itchy eyes may seem like a minor issue, but it could be a sign of an underlying condition like dry eye syndrome. Keep reading to learn what dry eye syndrome is, including its symptoms, common causes, and how to find relief.
What is dry eye syndrome?
Dry eye happens when your eyes don’t make enough tears, or your tears evaporate too quickly. Symptoms include redness, itchiness, a stinging or burning sensation in the eyes, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light. Some people may feel like something’s stuck in their eyes or have trouble wearing contact lenses or staring at screens for too long. If left untreated, severe dry eye can damage the surface of your eyes, resulting in scarring and permanent vision loss.
What causes dry eye syndrome?
There are many factors that can contribute to dry eye. One of the most common causes is aging. As we get older, our eyes tend to produce fewer tears, resulting in dry eye symptoms. Other causes can include certain medications, smoking, environmental factors such as wind or dry air from air conditioning, and even too much screen time. Women are also more likely to experience dry eye due to hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause or from taking birth control.
How to find relief
The good news is there are ways to relieve dryness and irritation. Some of the most effective treatments include artificial tears, warm compresses, blinking exercises, and lifestyle changes like using a humidifier at home and taking breaks from screens. Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet can also help. In cases of severe dry eye, your eye doctor may recommend prescription eye drops or medications to reduce inflammation. Another option is to insert tiny plugs (called punctal plugs) into the tear ducts to keep tears from draining from the eyes.
At Prairie Vista Eye & Optical, we offer a range of treatments for dry eye, including LipiFlow®. The LipiFlow® device uses gentle heat and pressure to unclog blocked meibomian glands, which are tiny glands in your eyelids that produce an essential part of your tears. Another treatment option we offer is EyePromise EZ Tears vitamins which are designed to help promote better eye health and relieve occasional dry eye. We’ll diagnose the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms and recommend the best treatment for your unique case.
In summary, if you’re dealing with itchy eyes, it’s crucial to see an eye doctor to figure out what’s causing your symptoms. If they determine that dry eye syndrome is to blame, there are many effective treatments available. By taking steps to prevent or treat dry eye syndrome, you’ll protect your eyes and see more clearly and comfortably. Give us a call today to schedule your eye exam in Liberal, Kansas.