Tears are essential to how the eye operates and sustains clear vision. You will find your eyes are very uncomfortable with insufficient or unstable tears. Over time, you will have the feeling of sand in your eyes, they will turn red, and they will be very irritated. Left untreated, this can damage the ocular surface, thus harming your vision. The condition of insufficient or unstable tears is called dry eyes.
Dry eyes can occur, as mentioned above, due to insufficient or unstable tears. These two conditions usually develop under several circumstances. Treatments have been developed over the years to help remedy them.
So, what causes dry eyes?
Anyone can develop dry eyes at almost any age, but older people comprise the highest number of patients dealing with the condition. Most of these patients are above 50 due to the decline of tear production with age. There is no way to prevent or reverse this type of dry eye. There are treatments available to manage the symptoms of it.
Tears are comprised of mucus, oils, and water, all of which are important in the functioning of the tear film. Some medications can have the side effect of reducing the mucus needed for the tears. Without mucus, the tears in your eyes become unstable and do not spread out over your eye uniformly.
Some medications with these side effects are beta-blockers, diuretics, antidepressants, and antihistamines. If you experience dry eye from any medication you take, inform your doctor so they can change your prescription.
In this digital age, the average adult spends about nine hours staring at a screen. One of the main effects of digital screens is a lower blink rate. Lower blink rates lead to eyes without sufficient lubrication. One of the ways to stop this from happening is to blink more often. You can employ the 20-20-20 rule: Look away every twenty minutes for twenty seconds at something twenty feet away.
Laser surgery may sometimes lead to dry eye development. It can do this because, during the surgery, some nerves in the cornea may be severed. These nerves are essential for the production of tears. But most of these grow back, and the dry eyes resolve after a few weeks.
Hormones are essential in regulating many body functions like tear production. When some hormones are imbalanced, it may lead to the eyes producing fewer tears. Pregnant women and women going through menopause or birth control may experience this type of dry eye. Hormone replacement therapy cannot correct this type of dry eye. The only effective treatment is lubricating eye drops.
Vitamin A is essential for eye health. If you are on a diet low in vitamin A, you may develop a form of dry eyes, as well as other visual problems like night blindness. Foods rich in vitamin A include eggs, fish, carrots, broccoli, spinach, and peppers.
If you have dry eyes from vitamin A deficiency, you can get a blood test to ascertain its cause. Doctors can prescribe eye drops that contain vitamin A, although they are not usually used for dry eyes.
For more on the causes of dry eye, contact Norwood Family Eye Care at our office in Bartlett, Tennessee. Call 901-617-8095 to book an appointment today.