Dry eye syndrome can be very frustrating. When tear production goes down, the eyes get irritated. They may burn, ache, or feel downright uncomfortable. Dry eye is one of the most common reasons people see eye doctors. Knowing the common signs helps in spotting the issue sooner. Faster relief then becomes possible through prompt treatment.
Tears keep the eyes nice and slick. They wash away dust or other bits that land on the surface. Tears also allow for effortless blinking and clear sight. But when tear quantity or quality drops, problems arise.
As bodies age, they often make fewer tears. Women may also notice more dryness when hormones shift during milestones like pregnancy or menopause. Other tear-production zappers include medications, contact lenses, procedures like LASIK surgery, and some illnesses.
Environmental causes can trigger the problem as well. Staring at screens constantly keeps the eyes open longer, drying them faster. Dry indoor air from heating units does not help either. Outdoor irritants like pollution or wind can trigger extra watering initially but leave the eyes parched afterward.
Fewer tears mean exposed nerve endings and rougher surfaces. Many describe moderate dry eyes as feeling like grit or sand grains are under their eyelids. Severe cases provoke adverse sensations that are difficult to ignore.
Inflamed eyes burn more severely as dryness continues without relief. Nerves fire off pain signals, demanding attention and care. Eyes sting, too, as they attempt to make tears and gain comfort.
Eyes itch from general irritation when the tear film gets too thin. Blinking no longer glides easily, either. Instead, skin and delicate membranes feel just as raw and ragged as with allergic reactions.
Constantly strained eyes ache, trying to function without enough moisture. To see better, muscles must work harder during squinting or widening attempts. Headaches often follow since groups of muscles join around the eyes and neck.
Without sufficient tears, vision blurs more easily. Reading small text or screens strains focus rapidly. Glare from sunlight also hampers image clarity by reflecting off irregular dry spots.
Visible red vessels in the whites of the eyes result from the network of capillaries trying to supply blood faster to irritated regions. Burst capillaries create noticeable red splotches, too.
Thicker mucus in dry eyes often piles up faster than watery tears can dissolve it. Opening eyes after blinking reveals white, tan, or yellow discharge strings clinging at duct corners.
Unprotected eyes suffer more exposure without lubricating tears. Bright indoor lights or sunlight shine brighter, causing more squinting. A breeze can water the eyes initially but dry them further afterward.
On the misery spectrum, patients rate moderate dry eye as highly uncomfortable. Severe cases are almost impossible to live with. Blurred vision from perpetual dryness practically reduces normal function, whether working, driving, or trying to relax.
See an eye doctor promptly if your tear production needs to be addressed. Restoring eye comfort revitalizes quality of life, too. With proper treatment, most dry eye discomfort improves significantly.
For more on dry eye syndrome, visit Westchester Eyes & Aesthetics at our White Plains, New York, office. Call (914) 732-1732 to schedule an appointment today.