Treating dry eyes requires more than just a few eye drops. It’s important to know which type of dry eyes you have before you address the all-to-common eye care issue. Understanding the true causes of dry eyes will also serve to help you discover the best fixes for this annoying and oftentimes, painful condition.
Why do Dry Eyes Occur?
Typically, dry eyes occur when the eye can’t produce tears properly, a disorder called aqueous tear-deficient dry eye. Simply put, this means that your lacrimal glands cannot produce tears, which keep your eyes lubricated and protect you from dust and debris buildup.
Another disorder, called evaporative dry eye, results from the inflammation of the meibomian glands, which work to keep tears from evaporating. In either case, finding a comfortable cure is extremely important.
There are a few other causes for dry eyes to consider prior to finding a solution. These include inflammation of the surface of the eye, the lacrimal gland or the conjunctiva. Certain diseases and medications can alter the components of your tears, causing them to evaporate too quickly. Thyroid disease is known to cause a protrusion of the eye, making it difficult for tears to sufficiently soothe the eye. Also, cosmetic surgery and sometimes even Lasik surgery can lead to constant dry eyes. And don’t forget common allergies, contact with chemicals and other skin diseases around the eye that may cause this aggravating disorder.
How to Treat Dry Eyes
Here are some basic things you can do yourself to alleviate any discomfort or frustration originating from dry eyes. Use artificial tears or over the counter ointments as directed for temporary relief. Wear close-fitting reading glasses, protective eyewear or sunglasses to help shield your dry eyes from dust and other pollutants. Or, try your best to avoid dry conditions altogether.
When all else fails, it’s off to the doctor for some deeper observation. If your dry eyes are due to an underlying disease like Sjögren’s syndrome, the anti-inflammatory medication cyclosporine can be prescribed to help decrease damage to the cornea and increase tear production. Dry eyes can also be caused by adverse reactions to medication or over usage of contact lenses; in which case, your doctor will recommend using another medication, or switching to reading glasses. In extreme cases, surgery to insert plugs into the lacrimal glands helps keep tears from draining out of the eye.
Finally, make a trip down the vitamin isle at your local grocery store. By consuming healthy doses of dietary supplements, preferably omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA, you can actually decrease the symptoms of dry eyes.
Do you have your own dry eyes remedies? What are they?