primary eye care

What is The Cause of My Dry Eyes?

August 28th, 2020

Young man suffering from dry eyes

Have dry eyes? You aren’t alone! Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common eye conditions people suffer from.

This could be due to the large number of factors that can contribute to the problem. The issues that cause dry eye patients to suffer from the disease can be divided into two categories.

The first is issues with making tears and the second is issues with the quality of tears. In some severe cases, dry eye patients may suffer from both simultaneously. Keep reading to find out what may be causing your dry eyes!

What are the Symptoms of Dry Eyes?

The symptoms of dry eye vary and depend on the patient. You may experience some symptoms and you may not experience other symptoms. Common symptoms include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Itchy eyes
  • Pain
  • Gritty sensation
  • Redness
  • Crusty eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Headaches

Causes of Tear Production Problems

When the eyes don’t produce enough tears, your eyes can’t get the proper nutrition or hydration. This leads to the eyes being unable to function as they should.

Prolonged malnourishment of the eye can lead to dry eye symptoms getting worse. It can even cause the problem to feed off itself, making the dry eye perpetually degrade.

If your eye doctor at Vision Care of Maine determines that your dry eye is due to a lack of tears being produced you may need to:

  • Stay hydrated. An ample supply of water is necessary for healthy tear production.
  • Quit smoking if you’re a smoker. Smoking causes many health problems, including the eyes. The smoke itself can also cause irritation and inflammation.
  • Limit your screen time. While using the computer or watching TV, you may forget to blink enough. Blinking is an important mechanism for delivering tears to the surface of the eye.
  • Use protective eye equipment when appropriate. Eye injuries can lead to more problems with tear production. Always wear sunglasses whenever you’re outside, making sure they provide 100% UV protection.

Whatever the answer to your dry eye is, our ophthalmologists will help you find it!

Causes of Tear Quality Problems

Water is not the only thing that your tears need. If your tears have the proper balance, they will have water, oil, and mucus.

Tears missing any of these components will likely lead to problems with tear quality. Tear quality usually occurs because there is not enough oil in the tears. Oil is crucial to the longevity of your tears, as it prevents them from evaporating.

Meibomian gland disorder is the most common cause of oil-producing issues in the eyes. The meibomian glands are in the eyelids and coat tears with oil as they are brought to the surface of the eye.

Over time, these glands may become blocked with dirt and a waxy substance. This prevents them from working the right way. To unblock them, you may need a special medical therapy.

Meibomian gland expression involves the use of gentle heat and pulsating pressure. This allows the meibomian glands to carefully open up and then get cleared out.

The therapy is short and painless. In fact, some even describe it as relaxing!

Other Dry Eye Treatment Options

Sometimes one kind of treatment isn’t enough. When preventative measure fail, you may need to resort to one or more of the following to boost your tears.

  • Medicated eye drops. Normal eye drops are great for dealing with dry eye symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe medicated eye drops that stimulate tear production.
  • Tear inserts. These release artificial tears slowly over time as they dissolve in your eye.
  • Punctal plugs. The doctor may insert physical plugs into your tear ducts to slow the flow of tears out of your eyes. This allows them to stay on the surface of the eye longer, rather than evaporating too quickly.

Tired of living with the symptoms of dry eyes? The ophthalmologists at Vision Care of Maine are here to help! Request an appointment in Bangor, ME today!

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