7 Common Dry Eye Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore

Dry eye is one of the most common conditions that affects millions of people worldwide. Dry eye, or dry eye syndrome, is a chronic and typically progressive condition that happens when your eyes do not produce enough tears for adequate lubrication or when tears evaporate too quickly.


Tears are essential for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. Without healthy tears, you can experience a host of uncomfortable symptoms that can interfere with your daily activities. Dry eye is often a part of the natural aging process, but it can also be caused by blinking or eyelid problems, medications, a dry climate, wind and dust, and general health problems like arthritis.


7 Common Dry Eye Symptoms


The first, and perhaps most obvious, is a persistent dryness in the eyes. This can feel like your eyes are gritty or sandy. You might also experience a burning sensation.


Secondly, you may notice increased sensitivity to light, known as photophobia. This can make it challenging to be in brightly lit environments or sunny outdoor spaces.


The third symptom is blurred vision, which can come and go throughout the day. It's not uncommon for this to be worse after periods of intensive eye use, like reading or working at a computer.


The fourth symptom is a feeling of something being in your eye, often described as a foreign body sensation. This can be particularly distressing and often leads to the fifth symptom, excessive tearing or watering of the eyes. This might seem counter-intuitive, but it's your body's response to the dryness and irritation.


The sixth and seventh symptoms, red eyes and fatigue, are often overlooked but equally important. Your eyes may appear red or bloodshot due to inflammation, while eye fatigue can make it difficult to focus and maintain attention.


Why You Shouldn't Ignore Dry Eye Symptoms


Ignoring dry eye symptoms can lead to complications and further discomfort. Many people believe that these symptoms are just part of aging or due to environmental factors, and while that can be true to some extent, it's crucial to remember that persistent dry eye symptoms can indicate a chronic condition that needs medical attention.


Failure to address these symptoms can exacerbate the problem, leading to more severe symptoms and potentially permanent damage. Chronic dry eye can lead to inflammation, corneal ulcers, and in extreme cases, loss of vision.


Additionally, dry eye can significantly impact your quality of life. It can affect your ability to perform daily activities, such as reading, driving, working on a computer, or even watching TV. It can disrupt your sleep and lead to psychological distress, such as anxiety or depression.


How an Eye Exam Can Help Diagnose Dry Eye


An eye exam with an optometrist is crucial for diagnosing dry eye. During the exam, the optometrist can assess your tear production, tear quality, and eye surface health.


They may perform tests such as a Schirmer's test, which measures the amount of tears your eyes produce, or a tear breakup time test, which measures how long it takes for your tears to evaporate. They may also use a slit lamp to examine the surface of your eyes for signs of dryness or inflammation.


An eye exam can also help identify any underlying conditions that may be contributing to your dry eye, such as blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction, or autoimmune diseases. By identifying and addressing these conditions, you can better manage your dry eye symptoms.


Treatment Options for Dry Eye


There are several treatment options available for dry eye. The first line of treatment typically involves over-the-counter artificial tears, gels, or ointments. These can provide temporary relief by supplementing your natural tears.


If over-the-counter treatments aren't enough, your optometrist may recommend prescription medications to reduce inflammation and increase tear production. They may also suggest procedures to unclog the oil glands in your eyelids or to keep tears on your eyes longer by plugging the tear ducts.


Lifestyle modifications can also help manage dry eye symptoms. This can include reducing screen time, taking regular breaks to rest your eyes, using a humidifier, and staying hydrated.


Manage Your Dry Eye Symptoms Today


Dry eye is a common condition that can significantly impact your quality of life. Recognizing the 7 common dry eye symptoms and seeking timely medical help is crucial for managing the condition and preventing further complications. With proper treatment and lifestyle modifications, it's possible to live comfortably with dry eye.


If you are experiencing any of these 7 common dry eye symptoms, don’t ignore them. Visit Canyon Optometry at our office in Irvine, California. We provide the highest quality, compassionate care to ensure your family enjoy a long, happy, and healthy life. Please call (949) 559-5905 to schedule an appointment today.

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