Dry eyes can be caused by any number of things. When you come to our Langley optometrist with concerns about dry eyes, the first thing he will do is to try to diagnose what is causing the dryness. Knowing the reason behind your dry eyes can be the first step in correcting the problem. Some of the most common reasons for dry eyes are:
- Wearing contacts. Contacts draw moisture from your eye to stay hydrated, so they can make your eyes feel much drier than normal.
- Having LASIK surgery. While no one is absolutely sure what causes dry eyes after LASIK surgery, it could be caused by damage to the cornea from the laser. Your cornea is responsible, in part, for the production of tears.
- Working on the computer all day. When you work on a computer (or tablet or look at your cell phone) for long periods of time, you are less likely to blink as often. Blinking distributes your tears across the surface of the eye, so when the eye is open longer and tears aren’t making their way across your eye, it’s going to dry out.
Dry eyes isn’t something you just have to live with, though. There are a number of things that you can do in order to combat the dryness. Our optometrist can help you decide which course of action is the best one for you.
Dealing With Dry Eyes
For most people, this is all that they need to do in order to overcome dry eyes. Putting drops in your eyes 3 or 4 times a day can greatly reduce the symptoms of dry eye. Depending on the severity of your case, your optometrist may recommend an over-the-counter brand of eye drops or prescribe something that’s a little stronger.
Your tears come from tiny ducts in your eyelids. Sometimes those ducts can allow tears to drain back out of your eyes and leave them feeling dry. To prevent this, your optometrist can place a tiny plug into the tear duct. This can increase the amount of moisture staying in your eyes and alleviate any uncomfortable symptoms. The plugs are safe and once they are in you won’t feel them.
In severe cases, there are a few seldom-used surgical options for the treatment of dry eyes. The first is to cauterize the tear ducts closed, effectively sealing them permanently without the use of a plug. The second is transplanting salivary glands from the mouth into the area under the eyes, so the saliva can act as a substitute for the tears. Most patients will not require these extreme interventions.
Things You Can Do At Home
There are also a number of things that you can do at home to help alleviate the symptoms of dry eyes!
If you work on a computer, be conscious about taking a 10-minute break every hour. Allow your eyes to rest by focusing on something in the distance. This is a great time to do some stretching and relieve the tension in your body, too!
Use a humidifier.
Running a humidifier, especially in dry winter months, can benefit dry eyes as well as dry skin. Run it in your bedroom at night or, if you can, in your office during the day while you work.
Smoking can actually increase the severity of your dry eye symptoms. The smoke is an irritant to your eyes, and smokers are much more likely to experience dry eye symptoms.
Need more tips about battling dry eyes? Make an appointment with our optometrist in Langley. We’ll help you find the solutions that you need to relieve your dry eye symptoms!