Tears are essential to keeping your eyes healthy and comfortable. However, when your eyes do not make enough tears or the right type of tears, you could be suffering from dry eyes.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

There are multiple potential causes for this very common eye condition, including:

  • Dry climates, such as the climate here in Arizona
  • Indoor environment, including air conditioning and forced air heating
  • Medical conditions, such as diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid disease
  • Computer, smartphone or other types of digital device use
  • Contact lenses
  • Allergies
  • Medications, such as antihistamines to treat allergies, some blood pressure medications, antidepressants, or birth control pills

Your risk of developing dry eyes increases as you get older, and women are especially at risk. Smokers are also at a higher risk.

The quality of your tears also plays a part with dry eyes. Tears are made up of three components, an oily component that prevents the watery component from drying out, and a mucous-like component that helps keep the tears on the surface of your eye.

Symptoms to Watch For

The most obvious symptom of dry eyes is, of course, a dryness sensation. Your eyes may burn, feel itchy or ache. You may feel discomfort when wearing your contact lenses. Additional symptoms may include:

  • Fatigued eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Soreness
  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity

You may experience watery eyes with dry eye syndrome, which is known as “reflex tearing.” This overproduction of tears is a protective mechanism. However, it does not resolve the condition causing the dry eyes.

Treatment Options for Your Dry Eyes

Dry eyes can be a chronic and progressive condition. If left untreated, your eyes could be damaged. While not all cases are completely curable, most can be successfully managed.

  • Warm compresses
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Mild cases of dry eye are typically treated with over-the-counter artificial tears or lubricating eye drops
  • Prescription eye drops including Restasis, Xiidra or Steroid eye drops
  • Punctal plugs to prevent tears from draining away for the eye

There is no need to suffer from dry eyes any longer. Schedule an appointment with one of Valley Eyecare Center’s eye doctors to determine which treatment is right for you. Call us at (602) 955-2700.