What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye disease occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears or not high enough quality tears to keep your eyes properly and healthily moisturized. Dry eyes can cause stinging, burning, as well as a sensation like there is something stuck in your eye.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
Your dry eyes can be caused by a wide variety of factors. Environments that are hot or smoky can cause dry eye. You can end up with chronic dry eyes if you are in an environment that has air conditioning or fans, as the continuous air flow can irritate your eyes. If you have been on an airplane recently or have not been sleeping very much, these factors can also cause dry eye. In Reno, the most important dry eye factor is our environment. Since Reno is both dry and windy, optometrists in Reno see a lot of severe cases of dry eye in the area.
Women are also more likely to develop dry eye symptoms, as testosterone is a protective hormone that lowers your risk of dry eye. Since women have naturally lower levels of testosterone, women commonly suffer from dry eye.
Other causes of dry eye include infrequent blinking, allergies, and wearing your contacts for too long or without a proper contact solution.
If you have spent a lot of time in front of screens, your eyes’ exposure to blue light can also lead to dry eye. Dry eye can even be a side effect of some medications, so be sure to review all medications and even supplements you may be taking at your next eye exam!
Why Should I Get Treated for Dry Eye?
Dry eye is an irritation and hindrance to daily tasks, but there is a bigger reason why you should visit your optometrist to seek treatment for dry eye immediately. The dryness or lack of proper lubrication of your ocular surface can lead to inflammation. As medical professionals, we know that inflammation is the starting point for more irritation and pain as well as many other eye problems.
How to Prevent Dry Eye
Besides environmental factors, people can also develop dry eye due to a deficiency of Omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids are naturally systemic anti-inflammatories, so if you are at risk for developing dry eye you can prevent dry eye with Omega-3 supplements. Try fish oil, crill oil, or flax seed supplements in order to get your daily requirement of Omega-3 fatty acids each day. Dr. Southam advises an intake of 2000 mg of Omega-3 each day to keep your eyes healthy and keep them from drying out.
How to Treat Dry Eye
The best thing to do for your dry eye symptoms is to start lubricating your eyes with some artificial tears. Dr. Southam and Dr. Moore at Black Rock Vision Center advise using the bottle of preservative-free tears called Oasis TEARS. It is ideal if you treat your dry eyes the same way you treat dehydration; don’t just drink when you are thirsty! Use your artificial tear drops regularly instead of just when you feel dry.
At Black Rock Vision Center, we understand that dry eye and severe dry eye symptoms are more than just a hassle. Get an accurate diagnosis of dry eye and a treatment strategy from eye care professionals at Black Rock Vision Center today.