Do your eyes often feel dry and scratchy? Maybe they turn a bit red and get itchy at times. It's easy to ignore these symptoms and tell yourself to suck it up. But doing so would be a mistake. Chronic dryness sometimes has a more concerning cause. There can be negative consequences if you ignore it, and it's not nearly as hard to treat as you may imagine.
The causes of chronic eye dryness.
Chronic eye dryness can be caused by certain medications. If you're taking a prescription drug – in particular an immunosuppressant or steroid – check the label to see if eye dryness is listed as a side effect. Another possible cause is Sjogren's syndrome, an auto-immune condition that affects the lacrimal glands, causing them to produce fewer tears.
If you're an allergy sufferer, there's a good chance your eye dryness is just another allergy symptom. You may be allergic to indoor allergens, like mold spores or pet dander, which causes you to suffer dry eye even when it's not really allergy season.
The consequences of ignoring eye dryness.
Eye dryness is not just annoying. A lack of tears causes increased friction between your eyelid and your cornea, which can lead to corneal abrasions and infections. The dryness can also make your vision blurry, making it tough to do your job or even drive. Of course, if there's a more serious underlying issue like Sjogren's syndrome causing your dry eye, ignoring the problem could just lead to it becoming worse over time.
Treatments for chronic eye dryness.
Regardless of the cause of your eye dryness, you can use eye drops to lubricate your eyes throughout the day. Make sure you start this treatment immediately, and keep it up until you're able to make it into your eye doctor's office for diagnosis and treatment.
If your eye dryness is due to low tear production, your eye doctor may prescribe an oral medication to increase tear production. For allergies, you may be prescribed antihistamine medications to help decrease your body's reactions to the allergens. If your eye doctor suspects you may be suffering from Sjogren's syndrome, he or she may refer you to a physician for a blood test. If diagnosed, a medication to suppress your immune system may help slow the progress of the disease and keep tear production adequate.
Punctal plugs are another option for treating chronic eye dryness from most any cause. These are tiny plugs that are inserted into your tear duct. They stop your tear ducts from draining tears away from the eyes so quickly. Having them inserted is a simple, painless process that's performed in your eye doctor's office.
If you suffer from eye dryness, don't ignore the issue. Talk to your eye doctor, like those at Webster Eye Care, to determine the cause and establish a treatment plan.Share
27 July 2016
Hi, I'm Deena, and as I neared middle age, I noticed that my eyesight wasn't as good as it used to be. I first started out needing reading glasses to read the small print in magazines, and then a few months later, I had to put them on to see the computer screen clearly. I knew by then that my eyes were getting worse and that I needed to do something quickly. I made an appointment with the optometrist and the doctor gave me an eye exam. Even though my sight wasn't as bad as I had feared, I still needed prescription glasses. I love my new glasses because I can actually see now. I have put together a lot of information about eye problems, eye tests and even various types of eye wear so that others don't wait as long as I did to see the eye doctor.