With the advent of the digital age, more and more people are experiencing occasional or frequent bouts of dry eyes. In fact, an estimated seven percent of adults are affected by this condition every day.
Eye dryness can develop for different reasons, and for some people, over-the-counter remedies offer temporary relief. However, regularly experiencing dry eyes warrants cause for concern.
Read on as a Camarillo, CA optometrist discusses dry eyes, what causes it, symptoms to watch for, and when to consider seeing an eye specialist.
Much like any other surface, when there’s a lack of moisture, it gets dry. The same goes for your eyes. The tears produced by your eyes should provide the degree of wetness they need to feel comfortable and function as they should.
Your tears create a moisturizing film that replenishes every time you blink. Dry eyes develop when this film starts to break down, which can happen for different reasons, some of which include:
Besides preventing dryness, your tears also help get rid of dirt and irritants. They also help prevent infection from developing by supplying your eyes with needed oxygen and nutrients. All-in-all, the occasional bout of dry eyes is ok, however, regular or frequent occurrences can cause real damage over time.
While there’s a greater risk of developing dry eyes if you’re over 50, people of all ages face increased risk due to the amount of time many spend looking at digital screens. Also, certain medications, such as decongestants and antihistamines, can cause eye dryness. Other conditions that can make you more susceptible to developing dry eyes include low estrogen levels, eye gland problems, and certain inflammatory disorders.
Here are a few symptoms of dry eyes to watch for:
Most people turn to over-the-counter eye drop remedies to alleviate dry eye symptoms. While eye drops can provide temporary relief, if you experience dry eyes on a regular basis, they can actually be making things worse.
Eye drops or “artificial tears” actually flush away the essential oily layer of your tear film. With repeated use, your natural tears become diluted, which only aggravates the dryness problem. Many brands of eye drops also contain infection-fighting preservatives, which can be a good thing. However, these same preservatives also kill healthy cells and cause damage to the surface of your eye.
The bottom line is if you have to use eye drops more than three times a day, it’s time to see an eye specialist.
If you have more questions or wish to schedule a consultation, feel free to call our Camarillo, CA optometry office today.