When your eyes do not produce enough tears, it is called dry eye. Dry eye is also when your eyes do not produce the right type of tears.
Here are some of the symptoms of dry eye:
- You feel like your eyes are stinging and burning
- There is a scratchy or gritty feeling like something is in your eye
- There are strings of mucus or pus in or around your eyes
- Your eyes are red or irritated. This is especially true when you are in the wind or near cigarette smoke
- It is painful to wear contact lenses
- You have lots of tears in your eyes
Both men and women can develop dry eye; however, it is more common in women who have gone through menopause. More specific causes include:
- certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, and lupus
- Blepharitis (when eyelids are swollen or red)
- Entropion (when eyelids turn in); ectropion (eyelids turn outward)
- Being in smoke, wind or a very dry climate
- Looking at a computer for a long time (reduced blinking)
- Using contact lenses for a long time
- Having refractive eye surgery, such as LASIK
- Using some eye drops and artificial tears with preservatives
- Taking certain medicines, such as:
- Diuretics (water pills) for high blood pressure
- Beta-blockers, for heart problems or high blood pressure
- Allergy medicines (antihistamines)
- Sleeping pills
- Anxiety medicines
Your ophthalmologist might tell you to use artificial tears. These are eye drops that are like your own tears.
Your ophthalmologist may suggest blocking your tear ducts. This makes your natural tears stay in your eyes longer.
Increasing your tears:
Your ophthalmologist might have you use a special eye drop medication. This helps your eyes make more of their own tears.
Treating dry eye culprits:
If your eyes are irritated and swollen, your ophthalmologist can treat those problems. They may recommend:
- prescription eye drops or ointments
- warm compresses on the eyes
- massaging your eyelids
- certain eyelid cleaner
Call to schedule an appointment today 1-800-575-4314.