Dry Eye Syndrome is a common condition that millions of Americans are diagnosed with each year. Sufferers often don’t recognize that their uncomfortable eye issues are actually symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome.
Dry Eye Syndrome results when the eyes do not produce the right amount of water and oil, which are both needed to keep eyes hydrated and create tears. When we blink, our eyes release meibum, which is the eye’s oily lubricant. This important mix keeps our eyes moist while helping remove damaging debris and microorganisms.
We’ve put together some common symptoms that you might experience due to Dry Eye Syndrome, several of which may be surprising.
While it may seem strange that those with “dry eyes” would have watery eyes, insufficient oil content in your tears can cause overcompensation. Tear ducts may produce even more tears for Dry Eye sufferers because there is not enough oil to prevent the tear layer from evaporating.
Conversely, not producing tears while crying could be a side effect of Dry Eye Syndrome. Check with your eye doctor if you experience this, since this symptom could also be caused by a number of other factors, including side effects from medication or hormonal changes.
Without enough moisture the tiny blood vessels in the eyes swell, and this reaction will makes eyes appear bloodshot. If you have red eyes but are not suffering from allergies or an eye infection, you may be suffering from Dry Eye Syndrome. Since red eyes can result from numerous causes, and some of which are very serious, it is strongly recommended to be evaluated by an optometrist when your eyes are red.
This particular condition is the sensation of sand or dirt in your eyes, which could be a symptom of Dry Eye Syndrome. When cells on the surface of the eye dry out, they may create micro-abrasions and this uncomfortable feeling. It’s important to have your eyes checked when you experience a foreign body sensation, whether or not you actually have dirt or makeup caught in your eyes.
Photophobia is a condition when eyes become extremely sensitive to light. Individuals without enough moisture in their eyes may experience photophobia. If you squint or shut your eyes when exposed to light, or experience pain, you may have photophobia. Have your eyes checked for Dry Eye Syndrome and other serious eye health issues if your eyes are very sensitive to light.
If you notice blurred vision that comes and goes, it could be Dry Eye Syndrome. Our tear film is normally strong and smooth, and if it’s not fully covering the eyes it can cause visual distortion. If your vision is fine throughout the morning but becomes foggy during the day, it may be due to Dry Eye Syndrome.
Do your eyelids feel heavy even when you are not tired? Insufficient tears can make your eyes tired, and your eyelids may droop a little to help protect them. In addition, this heaviness may be related to clogged and crusted meibum glands, unable to provide enough moisturizing oil while also causing an increased “heavy” feeling.
When you are concentrating on driving, especially at night, you are typically not blinking as much as usual. Blinking produces the lubrication your eyes need to stay healthy. Night is a peak time for your eyes to be tired and at their driest, and you may also notice that headlights and streetlights seem to produce too much glare. These are signs of Dry Eye Syndrome.
When you are staring at smartphones, computer screens or other electronic devices, you tend to blink at ⅓ the normal rate. Even children are experiencing Dry Eye Syndrome commonly due to constant exposure to video games and electronic devices. To reduce the negative effects of computer usage, follow the 20/20/20 Rule: Look away from your screen for 20 seconds every 20 minutes, at something more than 20 feet away.
When tears evaporate too quickly, it leaves the cornea dry, creating a stinging or burning sensation. Activities that cause you to not blink as often, such as staring at an electronic device, can contribute to this symptom. Have your eyes checked for Dry Eye Syndrome and other serious eye health issues if your eyes are stinging or burning.
If you have considered discontinuing use of your contact lenses due to discomfort, you are not alone. Almost half of contact lens wearers suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome because long-term contact lens usage can lead to a loss of sensation on the eye’s surface. When your eye’s sensitivity is altered, it can lead to a reduced amount of tears. After switching to eyeglasses for awhile, or by seeking proper Dry Eye Syndrome treatments from an optometrist, many individuals can continue to wear contacts comfortably.
Luckily, various treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome are readily available to sufferers. Many times, the use of artificial tears and behavioral changes (such as taking frequent breaks when using electronic devices) can help reduce the chance of dry eye becoming an issue. Your eye doctor may recommend prescription eye medications, or other procedures, to help create more tears and decrease irritation and inflammation of your eyes. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, make an appointment with the doctors of Metro Eye to experience relief today!