Dry Eye, A Beginner's Guide
Dry eye, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), is a condition that causes your eyes to produce an insufficient amount of tears. Although it can affect both men and women of all ages, it’s most common in adults over 50 years old. The condition can make your eyes feel dry, gritty or scratchy, and sometimes itchy as well. It might also cause stinging or burning sensations in both eyes when exposed to light for extended periods of time.
What is dry eye?
You might be wondering what dry eye is, exactly. Here’s what you need to know: Dry eye is a condition that affects the tear film and the surface of your eye. It’s a common condition, affecting up to 30% of people in the United States. The longer you have dry eye, the more likely it will become chronic (i.e., lasting longer than three months).
How does it happen?
You might be wondering, how does dry eye happen?
Tears are produced by glands in your eyelids. A balance of tears is necessary for optimal eye health. Your eyes make a combination of oil and watery tears to help maintain this balance. When you don’t have enough tears, your eyes can become irritated and uncomfortable.
There are many possible causes for dry eye:
- Lack of tears (also called evaporative dry eye)
- Lack of lubrication (also called dyshydrosis)
- Inflammation (this can be caused by allergies or irritants such as pollution)
- Medications that cause dryness (for example, antihistamines)
- A drop in estrogen levels after menopause or bulbar conjunctivitis due to vitamin A deficiency
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of dry eyes are:
- Dryness: You may have difficulty keeping your eye open, and it may sting or burn when you blink.
- Burning: Your eyes may feel hot and irritated, like they’re on fire. Some people experience this symptom as a feeling of constant pressure in their eyes or under the eyelids.
- Scratchiness: Your vision might be blurry if your cornea (the transparent layer over your iris) is scratched by an infected eyelash or by debris from contact lenses. This symptom can also be caused by inflammation inside the eye’s tear ducts that blocks drainage of tears to the surface of your eyes—so there aren’t enough tears to lubricate them enough for comfortable use!
- Pain: If any damage has occurred to one’s corneal cells due to overuse (such as too much rubbing), then it could cause pain when exposed directly towards sunlight because there aren’t many molecules protecting us anymore; this also means we’ll have more chances getting infections more easily than before too!
What can be done about it?
There are many ways to combat dry eye. You can use eye drops, lubricants, masks and ointments. Some people choose to use eye gels instead of traditional creams to treat their condition.
If you suffer from dry eyes on a regular basis, consider avoiding contact lenses if possible. If you wear contacts even occasionally and find that they exacerbate your symptoms or cause discomfort, consider switching to glasses instead. Glasses don’t offer any protection against UV rays or dust particles which can irritate sensitive eyes but they do not require regular cleaning with solutions or disinfectants that could further dehydrate the surface of your corneas and worsen dryness problems long-term either (source). You should also make sure you get enough sleep as lack of sleep can also lead to dehydration in general which may make matters worse when it comes down menses time too!
Dry eye treatment is available.
Dry eye treatment is available. The most common forms of dry eye treatment are artificial tears, prescription drops, and prescription ointments. Artificial tears can be used to keep the surface of your eyes moist and comfortable, while prescription drops and ointments are more effective at treating underlying symptoms such as inflammation or poor tear production.
How does dry eye treatment work?
Artificial tears are applied directly to the surface of the eye with repeated applications throughout the day as needed. They can be purchased over-the-counter in many pharmacies as well as online for convenience (and sometimes a significant cost savings). Prescription drops may work by increasing tear production or lubricating your eyes more effectively than normal tears do; they’re placed directly into your conjunctival sac using special eyedrops applicators that limit contamination from other people’s hands (or paws). Prescription ointments tend to last longer than either type of artificial tear product due to their thicker consistency, but they also require an additional step before application: gently massaging them into your eyelids until they begin to dissolve into tiny liquid molecules which travel down through each layer of tissue before reaching their final destination—your corneas!
Dry eyes can be treated, and it’s important to do so in order to protect your vision. In this article, we looked at what dry eye is and how it affects people with different types of eyesight problems. We also learned about some common symptoms and how treatment works for each one. We hope that this information has helped you understand more about what causes dry eyes and what options are available if you suffer from them!