Dry eye syndrome (DES) is so common that many people ignore it or try to soothe their dry, gritty, irritated eyes with over-the-counter remedies. But early diagnosis and treatment of DES by an eye doctor who treats dry eye syndrome is crucial to preserving vision. Schedule a dry eye exam at Mascoutah Eye Care, and we'll help you treat those irritating dry eye symptoms.
What is Dry Eye?
Millions of people around the world suffer from dry eye syndrome, which causes the eyes to become irritated and uncomfortable due to lack of hydration. Dry eye occurs when your eye’s glands don’t produce enough tears, or when the composition of your tears is off-kilter. This imbalance causes irritation, redness and blurry vision.
Dry eye syndrome may seem harmless, but if left untreated, it can lead to serious eye health problems such as corneal scarring and vision loss.
Improper Tear Balance & Dry Eye
Below is your tear composition, and an imbalance in any of these elements results in dry eye symptoms.
The Lipid Layer
This layer of your tears helps to prevent them from evaporating. It's made up of oils produced in the meibomian glands, and if these glands don't function properly, it can cause evaporative dry eye disease.
The Aqueous Layer
The middle layer of your tears is mainly composed of water, and it's this layer that keeps your eyes hydrated. The lacrimal glands produce tears, and insufficient production of tears is one of the most common causes of dry eye syndrome.
The Mucus Layer
This layer is composed of mucus that enables your tears to stick to the eyes’ surface.
Dry Eye Risk Factors And Symptoms
Though dry eye syndrome has many causes, some people are more inclined to experience it than others. You're at a greater risk of developing dry eyes if you:
- Spend too much time looking at digital screens (we blink less when using digital devices like computers and smartphones).
- Take certain medications, like blood pressure regulators, antihistamines and antidepressants
- Have an autoimmune disease, such as Sjogren's syndrome, lupus or diabetes
- Are at least 50 years of age
- Wear contact lenses
- Live in a dry or windy climate
Dry Eye Symptoms
The most common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:
- Watery eyes
- Blurry vision
- Burning sensation in your eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Bloodshot eyes
- Sensitivity to light
The Dangers Of Dry Eye Syndrome
When left to its own devices, severe DES can damage your eyes and negatively impact your quality of life.
If left untreated, dry eye syndrome can result in eye inflammation. In some cases, corneal ulcers (lesions on your eyes) can form.
Unless treated promptly, these corneal lesions can cause significant scarring. This scarring affects the eye’s ability to correctly focus incoming light, resulting in blurry vision. Corneal injuries can be very serious and may lead to vision loss or blindness.
Visit An Eye Doctor To Prevent Severe Dry Eye Syndrome
Everyone knows dry eye symptoms can be annoying, but few realize how much it can negatively impact your vision.
Don't let DES rob you of your vision. Visit Mascoutah Eye Care in Mascoutah today for effective dry eye relief and treatment.
Our practice serves patients from Mascoutah, Belleville, O'Fallon, and Edwardsville, Illinois and surrounding communities.