Dry eyes, also known as dry eye syndrome or keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a common condition that occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly. This can lead to a range of symptoms, including redness, itching, burning, stinging, and blurred vision. Our team of Calgary, Alberta optometrists are here to help you for all your needs.
In this blog post, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatments for dry eyes, as well as some tips for preventing and managing this condition.
Causes of Dry Eyes
There are many possible causes of dry eyes, including:
Aging: As we age, our eyes may produce fewer tears, leading to dryness.
Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during menopause, can lead to dry eyes.
Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as Sjogren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes, can cause dry eyes.
Medications: Some medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, and diuretics, can cause dry eyes as a side effect.
Environmental factors: Exposure to dry (Alberta) or windy environments, air conditioning or heating systems, and smoke can all contribute to dry eyes.
Symptoms of Dry Eyes
The symptoms of dry eyes can vary from person to person, but may include:
Sensitivity to light
Difficulty wearing contact lenses
Treatments for Dry Eyes
There are several treatments available for dry eyes, depending on the severity of the condition. Some common treatments include:
Artificial tears: With so many options at the drug stores, our doctors will recommend the right tear drops or ointments to help lubricate the eyes and provide temporary relief from dryness.
Prescription eye drops: If over-the-counter products do not provide relief, our doctors may prescribe medicated eye drops to reduce inflammation and promote tear production.
Punctal plugs: These small plugs are inserted into the tear ducts to prevent tears from draining away too quickly, keeping the eyes moist.
Lifestyle changes: Making changes to your environment or habits, such as using a humidifier, taking breaks from screens, or wearing protective eyewear, can help reduce dryness.
Preventing and Managing Dry Eyes
There are several steps you can take to prevent and manage dry eyes at home, including:
Blink regularly: Blinking helps spread tears across the surface of the eye and can help reduce dryness.
Use a humidifier: Adding moisture to the air can help prevent dryness, especially during the winter months when indoor heating can dry out the air.
Take breaks from screens: Staring at a computer or phone screen for long periods can cause dryness and eye strain. Take regular breaks to give your eyes a rest.
Wear protective eyewear: If you work in a dusty or windy environment, wear protective eyewear to shield your eyes from irritants.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep can all help promote healthy tear production.
In conclusion, dry eyes can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition, but there are several treatments and lifestyle changes that can help manage symptoms. If you are experiencing persistent dryness or discomfort, be sure to talk to our doctor team at any of our Calgary locations to help you find the right solution. Optometry doctors are trained to treat all types of eye conditions and eye diseases. Please call and book in today. Medical visits are covered by Alberta Health Care, so that there is no charge to the patient directly.