Do you feel like your eyes are always scratchy and dry? You don't have to go on living with this issue. If you're able to identify the cause of your eye dryness, you can start treating it and enjoying some relief. Here's a look at three common causes of eye dryness, and what you can do about them.
Your contacts are the wrong size or type for your eyes.
If you wear contacts and always feel like your eyes are dry, you need to talk to your eye doctor. Contacts come in different sizes, and if you were accidentally prescribed the wrong size, yours may be too tight, not allowing enough liquid to sit between them and your eyes. Some contacts also let more air through than others, and switching to a lens with a different permeability may help keep your eyes more moist.
You are developing an auto-immune condition.
Dry eyes are a common symptom of several autoimmune conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. If you have previously been diagnosed with one of these conditions, talk to your doctor, as the dry eyes are likely a new emerging symptom that may go away if your medication is adjusted. If you have never been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, but one runs in your family, this might be the first symptom that you're developing. Get tested for the disease that runs in your family in order to ensure that if this is the case, it is caught early.
Your tear production has been stunted by changes to your eye structure or health.
Sometimes, your tear ducts simply don't make enough tears. This is most common in patients who have undergone an eye surgery in the past. Sometimes the surgery alters the eye in a way that causes the tear ducts to be less productive. Older patients sometimes develop reduced tear production as an effect of aging or an aging-related disease, such as diabetes. Your eye doctor can measure your tear production, and if it is found to be low, may prescribe a medication to increase it. He or she may also recommend punctal plugs, which are tiny plugs placed in the tear ducts to ensure that once tears are released, they stay on the eye instead of being re-absorbed.
The best way to determine the cause of your eye dryness is to work closely with your eye doctor. Tell him or her about any other symptoms you're experiencing, even if they seem unrelated, as this will help your doctor arrive at a correct diagnosis. Dry eye is almost always treatable, so don't ignore the discomfort.
For more information, contact a clinic such as Whiteville Eye Associates.