Why Are My Eyes Dry?

Dry eyes is a common condition that occurs when your tears aren’t able to provide enough lubrication for your eyes. Causes of dry eyes can vary, such as staring at a computer for a long period of time – known as computer eye strain – or dehydration. If you’re constantly experiencing dry eyes, schedule an appointment at your neighborhood Pearle Vision. Our eye doctors can conduct a comprehensive eye exam and diagnose the problem. Finding the root of the problem can help find you the right treatment and alleviate dry eyes.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

There are many reasons why your eyes may not be producing enough water. Dry eye causes can include a lack of balance in the tear-flow system. Sitting in a room with an air conditioner or heater can also dry out your tear film. Other causes of dry eye are:

  • Aging
  • Menopause
  • Taking certain medications like antihistamines and antidepressants
  • Diseases, like Sjogren's syndrome, eye allergies, and lupus
  • Laser eye surgery
  • Wearing contact lenses
  • Vitamin A deficiency

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Eyes?

What do dry eyes feel like? Signs of dry eyes include:

  • A gritty feeling
  • Itching or burning
  • Redness
  • Blurry vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Fatigue
  • Discomfort wearing contact lenses
  • Watery eyes

How to Test for Dry Eyes

When your eyes are too dry, or in some cases too watery, an eye doctor may perform one of these dry eyes tests to measure your tear production and quality:

  • Schirmer’s Test: Your eye doctor will place blotting strips of paper under your lower eyelids for five minutes, then measure how much of the strip was soaked by your tears.
  • Phenol Red Thread Test: This test also measures tear volume by placing a thread filled with pH-sensitive dye under your lower eyelids. After 15 seconds your eye doctor will measure your tear volume.
  • Tests for Quality of Your Tears: Your eye doctor may use special dyes to look for tightness or straining on the corneas, and to measure how long it takes for your tears to evaporate.

How to Prevent Dry Eyes

The key to preventing dry eyes is avoiding situations that can trigger it. For example:

  • Avoid sitting near heaters or air conditioning units
  • Use a humidifier inside whenever the room feels dry
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes against debris and other allergens
  • Take breaks, like looking away or blinking more frequently, to help rest your eyes when working on a screen
  • Avoid smoking
  • Use eye drops whenever your eyes feel dry

How to Treat Dry Eyes

There are a number of ways to treat dry eyes. Your eye doctor will be able to determine what the best option is depending on the cause of the problems. Treatment may include teardrops, ointments, or medications. If you’re experiencing dry eyes, schedule an appointment at your neighborhood Pearle Vision EyeCare Center. Our eye doctors can help diagnose the problem and get you the right treatment.

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