Dry Eyes: What’s Causing Your Symptoms?

Dry Eyes: What’s Causing Your Symptoms?

Dry Eyes: What’s Causing Your Symptoms?

There are several conditions that can affect the health of our eyes, and subsequently, our ability to see the world around us clearly. One of the most common but still fairly unheard-of conditions is known as dry eyes.


What Are The Symptoms of Dry Eyes?

Unsurprisingly, the first and foremost symptom of dry eyes is… dry eyes. If you are suffering from this condition, your eyes probably feel stiff and difficult to move around. You may even find yourself purposefully widening your eyes in a bid to stretch them out and make them feel more comfortable. Although actual dry eyes are the most common symptom, there are a few others to be aware of, including:

  • Blurred or distorted vision

  • A stinging, burning or scratching sensation affecting your eyes

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Redness around the eyes

  • Feeling as though there is a foreign body lodged in your eyes

  • Problems with wearing contact lenses

  • Finding it difficult to drive at night due to glare from lights


If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, particularly if they are in combination with one another, it is important that you seek a professional assessment of the health of your eyes and your vision as soon as possible so that a definitive diagnosis can be obtained.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

Our eyes need moisture to remain healthy and function properly. This moisture is created naturally in the form of tear film. Tear film is a complex mixture of water, oils, mucus and antibodies, and these ingredients are produced by special glands located around the eyes. If the balance of these ingredients is disrupted, or if the glands are blocked for any reason, there may not be enough tear film reaching the eyes, and this can cause someone to develop the symptoms that are associated with dry eyes. There are several key things that are believed to contribute towards the development of dry eyes:


Diseases that affect your ability to make tears

Certain diseases have been shown to affect your ability to make tear film that is the correct quality and in the right quantity. These include Sjogren’s syndrome, collagen vascular diseases and rheumatoid arthritis.


Side effects of medications

Most medications have at least some side effects, and some list dry eyes as a potential risk associated with taking them. This includes some anti-depressants and antihistamines. If your dry eyes are being caused by your medication, it may be possible for you to have an alternative drug and you will be advised to speak to your doctor.


Other risk factors associated with dry eyes

There are some other factors that mean that you are more likely to develop dry eyes. These include the following:

  • Being over the age of 50

  • Wearing contact lenses regularly

  • Spending large amounts of time looking at a screen, and not taking frequent screen breaks

  • Spending time in air-conditioned or heated environments

  • Being in windy, dusty, dry or cold environments for a prolonged time

  • Smoking

  • Drinking alcohol


If you are at greater risk of developing dry eyes, you can speak to our team who will be happy to advise you what you can do to reduce the likelihood of experiencing this condition.


If you have further questions about what could be causing your dry eyes, or if you’d like to arrange for an appointment with our team, please contact our Greensburg, PA office today by calling 724-302-3700.

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