When your tears can’t provide enough lubrication to your eyes – that’s when we have to deal with little something called dry eyes. This can happen for many different reasons, like for example, when we simply don’t produce enough of tears, which means less moisture for our eyes, or simply when the tears we produce are of a lesser quality and aren’t sufficiently lubricating.
People suffering from this issue will tell you that this is one of the most uncomfortable sensations ever. Most of them suffer from dry eyes in certain situations, such as in air-conditioned rooms or after looking at your laptop screen for too long.
Common causes leading to decreased tear production are aging, certain medical issues, such as diabetes, lupus, thyroid disorders and scleroderma, certain medications, such as hormone replacements, antidepressants, birth control and antihistamines, or tear gland damage.
Besides the lack of tears, tear evaporation can also be a reason for dry eyes. The most common reasons for this are dry air and windy weather, but it can also be due to the lack of blinking motion or eyelid problems.
Risk factors for this condition are pretty straightforward, which means this condition can be very easily prevented or at the least – avoided.
For example, lifestyle choices and dietary habits that lack the intake of the vitamin A can result in dry eyes.
We also produce less and less tears as we get older, and it’s a known fact that being over 50 years of age means you have more risk of developing dry eyes, and especially if you’re a woman, since hormonal changes can cause the lack of tears as well.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common symptoms that follow this condition:
- Burning or stinging sensation in your eyes;
- Sensitivity to light;
- Redness in the eye;
- Feeling like you have a foreign object in your eye, even though you don’t;
- Impaired vision;
- Watery eyes and
- Tired eyes.
If you’re wearing contact lenses, you might even experience difficulty in wearing those too.
But even though this condition is really uncomfortable, it’s the complications that make it noteworthy. Our tears also represent a protective layer to our eyes, and if there’s simply not enough of them or if their quality is impaired, that means that our eyes are much more prone to infections. Due to the lack of tears, physical damage might also occur. If left untreated, dry eyes can lead to the abrasion the surface of our eyes which can obviously lead to the issues with the vision.
Luckily, there are a few ways to prevent dry eyes, so let’s take a look at what they are.
- Add moisture to the air, if you notice that dry air causes your eyes to be dry too. This can be easily done by getting a humidifier.
- Avoid blowing air into your eyes by avoiding hair dryers, air conditioners or fans, or if you have to deal with those – avoid pointing them directly into your eyes.
- Wear protective eyewear, such as glasses or sunglasses when needed.
- If you’re a smoker – stop or reduce smoking and try to avoid all sources of smoke, since this can worsen the situation.
- Take breaks during tasks that require constant strain of eyes, such as reading, computer using, driving and others.
- If you’re using a computer quite a lot, position the screen below eye level, so you don’t have to open your eyes as much in order to look at the screen.
- Be very aware of your environment, because airplanes or high altitudes can make your eyes very, very dry. In these situations, try keeping your eyes closed as much as possible or try squinting, so you can make sure they get enough moisture.
If you do suffer from dry eyes, you might want to consider some treatments. On one hand, it’s recommended you start using eyedrops, or artificial tears, to add moisture to your eyes. Additionally, you might want to consider certain lifestyle changes. If you notice certain situations or certain environments cause your eyes to be dry – try avoiding those as much as possible, in order to prevent potential complications.
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