Dry eyes are frustrating even when the gritty, burning sensation occurs only on occasion. One can only imagine, then, how chronic inflammation and excessive watering could be somewhat maddening. Tear production is a delicate process, we have come to learn. When this production is interrupted at any step, symptoms occur quickly. Here, we touch on what might cause eye irritation related to dryness and what you can do to promote optimal moisture.
Common Instigators of Dry Eye
It isn’t only a dry climate or windy day that may cause natural tears to evaporate quickly; some people struggle with eye irritation even during the humidity of summer. In this instance, the reason is often the internal environment. When the mercury rises, so do our air conditioning bills! When we’re running air conditioning indoors, or work in air-conditioned offices, moisture in the air is sharply diminished.
Normal functions are relatively easy to disrupt when a chronic health condition has developed. Concerning ocular comfort, common conditions such as rosacea, Parkinson’s disease, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis may interrupt tear production. Individuals who undergo any type of eye surgery may also have a higher susceptibility to dryness.
Medications and Therapies
Certain drugs have been associated with eye dryness because of their effect on tear production or retention. Allergy medications, even over-the-counter products, may dry the eyes by reducing mucus production. Cold and cough medicines aimed at reducing congestion may also affect the quality of lubrication in the eyes. Certain medicated eye drops, such as Visine or prescription drops for glaucoma, contain preservatives that may cause dryness. Individuals who are treating sleep apnea with CPAP therapy may also have an increased risk for dry eyes.
There are several strategies to manage dry eye symptoms. For instance, using a gel eye drop before bed may promote optimal moisture, which is beneficial if you sleep with air conditioning or a fan. Being mindful of digital eye strain is also helpful (remember to blink!). Some health experts have said that adding healthy fats to your diet through walnuts and salmon can also support eye lubrication.
Ultimately, dry eye may result from many factors. Working together with your ophthalmologist in Central Florida, it’s possible to find and overcome the cause of chronic dry eye. To schedule a consultation in our Ocala office, call (800) 521-6028.