What You Need to Know About Dry Eyes
One of the most common complaints optometrists hear about every day are dry eyes. If your eyes are feeling dry, sore or gritty, don’t suffer in silence – book an optometrist appointment today. And to understand a little more, this guide will explain the causes, treatment and prevention for this common ailment.
What are dry eyes?
If you’ve ever felt your eyes were sore, tired or gritty, you might suffer from dry eyes. And symptoms can be worse than just a niggle: dry eyes sometimes cause headaches and light sensitivity too. They are caused by either not having enough tears or by poor tear quality – and the latter is far more likely.
Our eyes have a three-layer film which keeps the surface of our eyes lubricated. There’s a sticky layer at the base, a watery layer in the middle and an oily outer layer. When the meibomian glands (the glands that produces this oily layer) aren’t working as they should, water evaporates too quickly, and you experience dry eyes.
Who gets dry eyes?
Up to one in three people get dry eyes and they can happen to anyone, although women and those over 65 are more prone to them. Lifestyle factors like wearing contact lenses, staring at a screen, exposure to air conditioners, dry environments certain medications and medical conditions can make you more susceptible.
First things first, it’s important to make an eye exam appointment with an optometrist to see what is really going on with your dry eyes. Once we figure out the problem, we can help you find a solution.
Sometimes, there is an obvious cause, like medication or overuse of contact lenses and it can be a simple fix. Otherwise, there are a number of things that may help, it’s a matter of finding what works for you, from warm compresses to eye drops or ointments and even medications.
Your optometrist may also suggest some lifestyle changes, depending on your unique situation. Particularly if you are a big screen user, it may be a case of training yourself to look away and give your eyes a rest more often.
If you’ve never experienced dry eyes, consider yourself lucky. And keep up these preventative tips to keep dryness away:
• Protect yourself from the sun with polarised sunglasses
• Wear the right prescription in your eyewear
• Avoid irritants such as smoke and dust
• Wear goggles when swimming in chlorinated pools
• Use a humidifier, especially if the a/c is on
Speak to your optometrist today