Keratoconjunctivitis sicca or dry eye syndrome as it is commonly known is quite a common condition. It happens if tears in the eyes evaporate quickly or if the eyes don’t produce sufficient tears. This makes the eyes dry out and become irritated, swollen and red.
Symptoms of dry eyes to look out for
The following are symptoms to look out for if you think you are suffering from dry eyes:
- A gritty or dry feeling that gets worse as the day goes along
- Red eyes and a burning sensation
- Blurry vision which goes away when you blink
- Eyelids are stuck together when you wake up
Your eyes may also water a lot which is caused by the eye producing more tears to get rid of the irritation.
See your local optician
It’s highly advisable to see an optician or optometrist even if you have mild symptoms of dry eyes. You will be examined and may be referred to an eye specialist. Make an appointment with your local optician if the symptoms are severe.
Causes of dry eye syndrome
This problem can happen when the production of tears is interrupted for one reason or another. Some of the more common reasons are:
- Wearing contact lenses
- Side effects of antidepressants, beta-blockers, diuretics and antihistamines
- Living in a windy or hot climate
- Underlying medical conditions like inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis)
- Menopause, using the contraceptive pill or pregnancy
People of any age can be affected by this condition, however, as you age, the chances are higher. Another factor is that it is more common for women to suffer from dry eyes than men.
Treatment for dry eye syndrome
There are lots of treatments to relieve dry eye syndrome which isn’t really a serious condition. One is to lubricate the eyes with drops and another is medication to get rid of any inflammation. Surgery is only carried out to stop the tears from draining away too much.
Taking care of your eyes
There are things you can do to reduce the symptoms of dry eyes and to prevent this condition from occurring in the first place. These are as follows:
- Use your laptop or computer the right way so as not to strain your eyes
- Buy a humidifier to moisten the air around you
- Protect your eyes from smoke, wind and dry conditions
- Eat well
You only get one pair of eyes so always take good care of them.