Dry eye syndrome affects, an estimated, 40 million people worldwide – 16 million in the United States. That is not the only scary statistic. Doctors expect chronic dry eyes to increase exponentially (to approximately 29 million in the US) over the next 10-15 years. This can be thanks to our use of computers and mobile devices.
Additionally, living in Colorado can create some pretty intense dry eye symptoms. So, what is dry eye syndrome? What can be done to help? Do electronics worsen this syndrome? Find out!
Dry eye syndrome is caused essentially a lack of lubrication on the surface of the eye. This can create inflammation. Inflammation can irritate the eye. Additionally, dry eye and swelling can even cause scarring on the surface of the eye.
In addition to being called Dry eye syndrome, dry eye disease, or simply “dry eye,” alternative medical terms used to describe dry eyes include:
Since so many Americans suffer from dry eyes, it is important to ask yourself these questions:
If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, but still have watery eyes, you may still have dry eye syndrome. If you suffer from watery eyes in addition to dry eye symptoms, it is likely that your eye is trying to produce tears to help with the dry eyes but because the eyes surface is so dry the tears are not enough to correct the dry eye.
Much like a balanced diet, your eyes produce tears with a purpose. Just like your body needs fats, proteins, and carbohydrates your eyes need lipid, aqueous, and mucin. Those are just fancy ways of saying an oily portion, a watery portion, and a mucous portion. Each have an equally important role in keeping your eyes healthy. Without tears to help lubricate your eyes surface, you wouldn’t be able to combat dust or debris which can lead to damaging corneas or eye infections.
Back to our three components. They all play an important role. Lipids, produced by Meibomian glands behind the eye lid, keep the tear from evaporation, creating a better environment for the eye to take in the liquid. The mucin, produced by glands near the conjunctiva or whites of the eye, anchors and spreads the tear across the entire eye. Finally, the watery portion of the tear is produced by lacrimal glands or upper eyelids.
An issue at any point in the process can create issues within the eye leading to dry eye syndrome. The specific type of dry eye will help the doctor proscribe the best treatment. Our optometrists are happy to see you for your dry eyes and help find relief that works!
Researchers have stated they are finding correlation with springtime allergens and dry eye syndrome.
At the end of the day, there are proven factors that contribute to chronic dry eyes. Here are a few, and what you can do to help.
We have filled you in on what dry eye syndrome is, what causes it, and how to know if you have it. What about HOW TO TREAT IT!!! You may have scrolled to this because your eyes are too dry to read the rest – that is okay! We can let you know how to treat your dry eyes!
The BEST way to treat dry eyes is to meet with a doctor. There are several effective treatments in addition to habit changes that can resolve or improve your dry eyes. Since there are so many causes for dry eyes, there are just as many treatments. The best way to find a plan that will work best for you is to meet with one of our doctors. Do not delay! Contact us now to get dry eye relief!