When are Your Chronically Dry Eyes Cause for Concern?

Most people get dry, irritated eyes from time to time, but if you’re one of nearly 5 million American adults with chronically dry eyes, you may find it difficult to get relief from symptoms. Optometrists, Dr. Sean Stevens and Dr. Tiffany Brawner, of ReVision Optix in Simpsonville and Greenville, South Carolina, specialize in diagnosing and treating a variety of optical conditions. They explain how to determine when your chronically dry eyes are cause for concern. 

Underlying causes of chronic dry eyes: Quantity and quality of tears

Dry eyes are the result of a lack of lubrication on the surface of your eyes. In healthy eyes, the corneas are covered in a tear film that’s the perfect combination of water, mucus, and oil layers. When one of these layers is out of balance and doesn’t produce enough lubrication, the result is dry eyes. 

And, it’s not just the amount of lubrication your cornea needs to keep your eyes comfortable, but also the quality of the tear film that makes a difference. For example, when the oily layer of lubrication doesn’t function properly, your tears evaporate too quickly, leaving you with dry, irritated eyes on a regular basis. 

Factors that may contribute to this ongoing medical condition – often referred to as dry eye syndrome – include:

Additionally, as a woman, you’re more likely to develop chronic dry eyes as a result of hormonal changes during pregnancy, menopause, or as a result of taking birth control pills. 

Lingering symptoms of dry eye syndrome

When it’s not just occasional, symptoms of dry eye syndrome can interfere with your day-to-day comfort and professional life. You might get temporary relief from over-the-counter eye drops, but symptoms typically return and include eyes that feel:

You may also experience excessive tearing, blurred vision, and eyes that frequently look red and irritated. When you have chronically dry eyes, it’s common to feel like there’s always something in your eye that you can’t seem to remove. Stringy mucus in your eyes is another common sign of a chronic problem. 

If you experience any of these symptoms for more than a few weeks, or beyond a particularly dry weather season, it’s important not to ignore them, or you could end up with permanent cornea damage. A comprehensive eye exam helps us determine the underlying causes of your dry eyes so we can correct the problem and you can get relief. 

Effective treatments for chronically dry eyes

We offer a range of treatments for dry eyes customized to your individual needs. Once we pinpoint the underlying causes of your dry, irritated eyes, we recommend steps you can take to alleviate symptoms, such as:

Increasing your water intake so you stay hydrated and avoiding exceptionally dry environments may also help reduce symptoms. In severe cases, our optometrists may recommend tear duct plugs that help keep tears in your eyes so the surface stays lubricated.

At ReVision Optix, we treat people of all ages for chronically dry eyes, so schedule an exam today by calling either of our South Carolina locations. You can also request an appointment online

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