A common condition that can lead to more serious vision problems, dry eyes typically occurs when you aren’t able to produce enough moisture for your eyes. This can be extremely uncomfortable with little to no relief depending on the severity. If you’re someone suffering from dry eyes, here’s everything you need to know.

Symptoms

Dry eyes will usually affect both eyes, displaying symptoms that include scratching, stinging or burning sensations within the eyes, mucus in or around the eyes, light sensitivity, redness, feeling like something’s in your eyes, blurred vision, fatigued eyes, and/or watery eyes. You might also experience difficulty wearing contact lenses or driving during the nighttime. It’s time to see your optometrist when these symptoms continue for a prolonged period of time.

Causes

The general cause for dry eyes is when there’s a lack of tears present. A mixture of tears, mucus and fatty oils are what keeps the surface of your eyes clear and protects against infection. Dry eyes can either be the result of low tear production or increased tear evaporation. Ageing, certain medical conditions, medications, tear gland damage or laser eye surgery could be the reason you’re experiencing dry eyes.

Risk Factors and Complications

A larger group of people than most would assume are at a higher risk of developing dry eyes in their lifetime. Those who are over 50 years of age will experience a decline in tear production. Women, especially those who are pregnant, are using birth control or are going through menopause, don’t produce as many tears. Individuals who are deficient in vitamin A or omega-3 fatty acids will also experience dry eyes, as well as those who wear contact lenses. If you find yourself with dry eyes, you might suffer from eye infections, damage to the eye’s surface and lower quality of life if you don’t see an optometrist soon.

Prevention

There are a variety of ways to prevent dry eyes from happening to you. Avoid allowing air to blow directly into your eyes, take breaks after or between long tasks, employ the use of a humidifier to increase the moisture levels in the air, and wear sunglasses when outdoors.

Treatments

If you only have a mild case of dry eyes, then over-the-counter eye drops are enough to ease your discomfort. However, if your symptoms are more serious, then you’ll need to treat the underlying cause for your condition. Your optometrist will determine how to proceed, whether it’s with medication, surgery, home remedies or a lifestyle change, based on the cause and severity of your dry eyes.

At BC Vision Care, our Langley eye doctors offer effective treatments for our patients. Our eye care centre performs services that include comprehensive eye exams, vision therapy, laser eye surgery and more. Feel free to give us a call to book your next appointment.