Recognizing the Symptoms of Dry Eye

By David Gross on October 29, 2017

A woman with dry eye symptomsTears play an important role in eye health. They keep the eyes lubricated, help maintain the health of the surface of the eye, and aid in clarity of vision. When tear production is inadequate, it can lead to a condition called dry eye. Dry eye has many symptoms that can impact daily life and lead to chronic discomfort. Understanding the symptoms of dry eye is important to recognizing when treatment is necessary.

At Deen-Gross Eye Center, our team specializes in a wide range of eye care treatments to preserve and protect each patient's vision and eye health. If you believe you are experiencing dry eye symptoms and live in or around Merrillville, IN and Hobart, IN, we welcome you to contact Deen-Gross Eye Center to learn more about your treatment options.

What Is Dry Eye?

Many assume dry eye is caused by a lack of tears, but it's actually a condition in which the eyes are inadequately lubricated. While it is true that the eyes may be inadequately lubricated due to a lack of tears, it's also possible to have adequate tear production and still experience dry eyes. This is because the quality of the tears is just as important as quantity. Tears that do not have sufficient lubricating components, like lipids and mucin, can leave the eyes feeling dry.

What Causes Dry Eye?

Dry eye has many possible causes. Dry eye may be caused by the environment, specifically when the air is dry. This may occur from air conditioning or a heater. Wind can also dry out the eyes. Certain drugs, like antihistamines, can also lead to dry eye, as can the aging process. Certain diseases can affect tear production and quality and may lead to dry eye. Some of these diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren's syndrome, and other autoimmune disorders.

The Symptoms of Dry Eye

For some, dry eye may be a temporary condition caused by something as simple as flying on an airplane, or a chronic issue associated with an underlying health problem. Recognizing the symptoms of dry eye is important to knowing when to seek treatment. Some common symptoms of dry eye include:

  • Eyes that sting or burn
  • Scratchy, or gritty, feeling in the eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Watery eyes
  • Tired or fatigued eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Pain or discomfort when wearing contact lenses
  • Trouble seeing when driving at night
  • The eyes feel irritated
  • Feeling like something is in the eyes
  • Stringy mucus around the eyes

Treating Dry Eye

There are a variety of treatment options for dry eyes. Those who have developed dry eyes from environmental factors, like air conditioning or heating, should adjust air conditioning or heating, whenever possible.

When dry eye is caused by an underlying disease or health issue, seeking treatment for such issues may help alleviate dry eye symptoms. If not, eye drops may be an option for lubricating the eyes and relieving dry eye.

Schedule a Consultation

If you suffer from dry eyes and would like more information about your treatment options, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with our experienced eye doctors at Deen-Gross Eye Centers.

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