When you have problems with your eyes, there is an instant sense of stress and discomfort. Even with common problems such as dry eye, you feel stressed because, after all, you need to be able to see to function. Fortunately, dry eye is easy to diagnose and treat, and you need only see your eye doctor get help treating this eye-related issue.
If you suspect that you have dry eye disease, it is essential to know that this is a common condition, and recognizing the symptoms is the first step before seeing a doctor with your suspicions. You may have dry eye disease if you do not produce enough tears or have poor-quality tears, and instability in this production often leads to inflammation and damage to the eye’s surface. The key symptoms to look for include a stinging or burning sensation in your eyes, a stringy mucus on or around your eyes, eye redness, difficulty wearing contact lenses, water eyes, sensitivity to light, eye fatigue, and blurred vision.
The treatment for dry eyes starts with the cause of your dry eyes. Many things may cause it, and these obstructions disrupt an otherwise healthy tear film. The combination of fatty oils, aqueous fluid, and mucus keeps your eyes smooth and lubricated, but you can develop dry eye disease when there are problems with one or more layers. Hormone changes, autoimmune disease, inflamed eyelid glands, or allergic eye disease are the primary causes of decreased tear production or increased tear evaporation.
It is essential to see a doctor about dry eye disease symptoms because complications can quickly follow when they are left alone. Patients with untreated eye disease are at a higher risk for an eye infection, damage to the surface of their eyes, and decreased quality of life. To help prevent these issues, avoid blowing air into the eye, add moisture in the air via a humidifier, take eye breaks, stop smoking, and always wear protective eyewear.
Those at higher risk for dry eye disease are individuals over 50, women, especially those using birth control or menopause, or those who wear contact lenses. While these symptoms are certainly uncomfortable, when do you stop using eye drops and visit your doctor or a dry eye clinic? If you have prolonged signs or symptoms of dry eye disease, including painful and irritated eyes, you should start to work with your doctor to get relief.