Remember the “Clear Eyes” commercial in the 1990s featuring actor Ben Stein? His dead-pan delivery made the commercial hard to forget. Humor aside, dry eye is something that many people of all ages struggle with on a daily basis.
So, what’s the 4-1-1 on dry eyes? First, don’t worry! You should know this is a fairly common condition that can affect both men and women. Dry eye occurs when your tears aren’t able to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. Sometimes you don’t produce enough volume or high-quality tears. Regardless of the cause, it can be uncomfortable at best. You may experience a stinging or burning sensation. Other symptoms include sensitivity to light, redness, watery eyes and even blurred vision.
Your environment can be to blame, too. You may find your eyes are more aggravated on an airplane, in an air-conditioned room, after riding a bike, or after looking at a computer screen or device for a few hours. That’s because these settings or activities can be hard on the eyes. Other factors at play include aging, certain diseases, smoking, and the weather. Wearing contacts for too long can be irritating as well. Arid climates and dry or windy conditions increase dry eye risks.
So, how can you get relief? Treatments can include lifestyle and dietary changes or use of eyedrops. Many people find that by following basic recommendations, they can stay on top of the condition before it starts to flare up and affect daily activities. Artificial tears, available over the counter, are a cost-effective remedy most people find easy to adopt. They can provide temporary relief from dry eye symptoms. It’s important to choose a brand without preservatives or one with special non-irritating preservatives. (Your Midwest Eye Consultants doctor can recommend a specific product.)
As with any eye-related condition, not all cases are equal. It’s best to see your Midwest Eye Consultants doctor if you’ve had prolonged signs and symptoms of dry eyes, including red, irritated, tired or painful eyes. He or she can take steps to determine if further course of action is needed and provide a customized treatment plan for you.