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Dry Eye Definition

What is dry eye?

Dry eye is, in fact, a fairly common condition that happens when your eyes are unable to receive proper lubrication from your tears. There are a number of reasons why your tears might not be effective enough. Such as that the tears themselves are of poor-quality or that you are not producing enough tears. If you are suffering from dry eyes then you will find that your eyes are stinging or burning, and the whole experience is generally rather uncomfortable.

Many sufferers of dry eyes find that it occurs when they are in certain environments, like sitting on an airplane, riding a bike, staring extensively at a computer screen or sitting in an airconditioned room. There are ways to treat dry eyes, such as using eye drops or even making certain lifestyle changes. In order to control your dry eyes in the long term, you would need to continue to follow the prescribed treatment.

What causes dry eye?

Here are the three most common causes of dry eyes:

Lack of suitable tears

Tears are made up of mucus, oil and water. If your tear composition is imbalanced in any way then it could make them less effective, leading to dry eyes.

Creating fewer tears

The medical term for this problem is keratoconjunctivitis sicca. It can happen as you get older, if you have certain medical conditions, if you've had laser eye surgery or your tear glands have been damaged by radiation or inflammation.

Increased level of tear evaporation

You will find this happens when you blink more often, have eyelid problems or spend a lot of time in windy, smokey or dry air.

Symptoms of dry eye

Symptoms of dry eyes include the following:

  • Stringy mucus around or in your eyes
  • A burning, scratchy or stinging sensation in the eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Having difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Difficulty with driving at night
  • Eye fatigue or blurred vision
  • Eye redness
  • Feeling like there's something in your eyes

It is best to consult with your doctor if you believe you have dry eyes.

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