2 min read, Tips For Optometry Patients

Dry Eyes, sometimes referred to as Dysfunctional Tear Syndrome, is one of the most common eye diseases in the world. This is a condition where your body produces poor quantity AND/OR quality tears.

Your tears work to protect and lubricate your eyes and clear out irritants. When you don't produce enough tears or when the tear film quality is poor, symptoms and conditions may develop ranging from mildly irritating to significantly affecting quality of life.

Risk factors that affect dry eye:

  • age
  • menopause
  • HVAC systems - fans, forced air heating that decreases humidity
  • dry climate, windy conditions
  • smoking
  • frequent flying
  • contact lens wear
  • certain medications such as: antihistamines, anti depressants, some blood pressure medications and birth control pills
  • computer/screen use (inhibits blinking)
  • smartphone use in children
  • eyelid conditions such as lagophthalmos where lids won't fully close
  • medical conditions: allergic eye disease, lupus, thyroid disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, vitamin A deficiency, Scleroderma, Sarcoidosis, Sjogren's Syndrome
  • Only your eye doctor, following a comprehensive eye exam, can diagnose dry eyes as symptoms can vary by individual and are common amongst other conditions.

    Book an eye exam if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • burning sensation
  • itchy eyes
  • dryness
  • aching, sore eyes
  • heavy eyes
  • fatigued eyes
  • red eyes
  • light sensitivity
  • blurred vision
  • sensation of a foreign body or gritty material in your eyes
  • watery eyes (can result as over compensation for poor tear production)
  • Treatments options for dry eyes range from regular use of artificial tears to medications and/or procedures that improve the quality and quantity of your tear production.

    Here are some additional things you can do that may help reduce your risk of dry eyes or ease symptoms that exist:

  • follow the 20-20-20 rule, where you break from the computer or your screen every 20 minutes, focus on something roughly 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds
  • keep your computer screen below eye level
  • use a humidifier
  • wear protective sunglasses
  • turn down your thermostat
  • blinking exercises
  • avoid air blowing directly into your eyes
  • using a warm compress
  • drink lots of water
  • Left untreated, dry eyes can lead to permanent damage of your eye's surface, eye inflammation, corneal abrasions, corneal ulcers and even vision loss. Don't leave it to chance. Be sure to get regular eye exams and let your doctor know of any changes you are experiencing in your vision.

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