Dry eye syndrome is a relatively common vision problem. About 6% of the public suffers from it, and odds increase significantly in postmenopausal women and senior citizens. It can be caused by either insufficient tear creation, or by having tears which evaporate too quickly. Either way, the result is the same.
Beyond simply having painful eyes, those with chronic dry eyes may actually risk future vision problems. Dry eye syndrome is much more likely to cause microabrasions -tiny cuts- which result in corneal damage over time. This is a long process so you’re not in immediate danger, but it’s definitely worth keeping in mind.
There is no true cure for dry eye syndrome, besides some surgical options that are only used in extreme circumstances. Thankfully dry eye can be easily controlled in most cases.
Caring For Chronic Dry Eye Syndrome
1 – Control your environment. Stay away from smoky locations, like smoker’s bars, and use a portable humidifier to keep moisture in the air.
2 – Use tear drops. Any decent brand of eye drops or “fake tears” will alleviate dry eye problems. A few drops in each eye should keep them hydrated for hours.
3 – Clean your eyelids in the morning. Those with dry eye problems are more likely to wake up with crusty eyelids. If not cleaned, the crust can contribute to eye damage. Gently clean using a warm, damp washcloth.
4 – Take Omega-3 supplements. Fish oil pills with Omega-3 fatty acids, found in virtually any grocery or health food store, have been proven effective at decreasing the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
5 – Do NOT rub. In virtually all cases, rubbing dry eyes will do no good, and may even contribute to more microabrasions.
Tell Your Optometrist If You’re Experiencing Chronic Dry EyesDon’t forget, your local eye care professional is still your best source of support when dealing with chronic dry eye. Be sure to consult with a professional if you have any questions, or if dry eye symptoms continue.