Healthy eyes need tears. They’re essential for keeping your eyes comfortable and your vision at its best. Your eyes have a normal, thin film of tears that coats your eyes, made up of three main layers – the mucus layer in the innermost part of your eye, the aqueous middle layer that keeps your eyes moist and free of debris, and the outer layer of lipis that produces oil glands in the eyelids to minimize water evaporation. As you get older (especially after age 40), you’re more likely to develop a disorder of this tear film, which leads to dry eye syndrome (DES).
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you likely have DES:
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision
- Eye redness
- Burning and itchy eyes
- A grittiness and dryness
- The feeling that you have something in your eyes
Symptoms of dry eye syndrome tend to get worse if you:
- Live in a dry climate
- Are exposed to windy conditions
- Are in an environment with higher temperatures
- Read or watch TV for an extended period of time
To help relieve symptoms of DES, try the following:
- Use an air filter. When there is a large amount of dust in the air, your eyes tend to become even more dry. Using an air filter may help.
- Run the humidifier. Your tears don’t evaporate as quickly when there’s moisture in the air. Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air can make your eyes more comfortable.
- Avoid running fans. Ceiling fans or oscillating fans causes excessive air movement which can exacerbate DES.
- Try artificial tears. There are several over-the-counter lubricating eye drops available to help provide moisture on the surface of your eye. Take care not to use these more than six times a day, which can actually worsen your condition over time.
- Use a hot compress. Apply a washcloth soaked in warm water to your eyes and massage gently to stimulate the oil out of your glands, which helps produce a thicker lipid layer.
To learn more about effectively diagnosing and treating dry eye syndrome, or for information about any of the services we provide, please call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.