Dry eye is a common condition that can be uncomfortable if left untreated. There are a number of factors that could cause dry eye, especially if you’re looking at a computer screen for a long time or stuck on an airplane for a long flight. No matter the cause, there are ways to prevent and treat dry eyes.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
Believe it or not, there are symptoms other than just dry eye. Those symptoms can include:
- Stinging, burning or scratching sensations
- Sensitivity to light
- Stringy mucus around eye
- Eye redness
- Difficulty seeing while driving at night
- Watery eyes
- Eye fatigue
- Eye redness
Causes of Dry Eye
Dry eyes are caused by a lack inadequate tear production, decreased oil production, inflammation or a combination of all of these factors. Tears are made up of more than just water – they’re also made up of fatty oils and mucus, and this mixture helps keep your eyes smooth while also preventing infection.
Dry eye can be caused by age, certain medical conditions and some types of medications. For other patients, it may be because of increased tear evaporation. This can be caused by exposure to wind, smoke or dry air, not blinking enough or eyelid problems. Contact lenses are another common cause of dry eye. But, about 87% of LASIK patients feel like their dry eyes are better after LASIK than when they wore contacts.
Preventing and Treating Dry Eye
No matter the cause of your dry eye, there are ways to prevent and treat the dryness.
- Use artificial tears regularly
- Avoid smoke or dry air
- Take breaks when reading or using the computer
- Wear sunglasses or eye protection, especially in dry air or windy conditions
While it is uncomfortable and annoying, in most cases, dry eye is treatable with artificial tears and small lifestyle changes.