Dry, itchy eyes can really put a damper on your day. Temporary dry eyes due to issues like a change in environment cause a minor annoyance; however, some people experience persistent dry eyes for weeks or months at a time.
When this happens, it’s important to see an optometrist for proper diagnosis and care. Learn about dry eyes and your treatment options so you can get relief.
Why are my eyes so dry?
While you may associate tears with crying, the normal eye is always full of tears, even when you’re happy. Tears play an important role in providing moisture and lubrication. Dry eyes commonly occur when your tears don’t provide enough lubrication. This can make your eyes feel itchy and uncomfortable.
You may experience dry eyes with environmental change, such as going into an air-conditioned room or being on an airplane. Under these circumstances, your eyes may return to normal once you leave the environment.
In some cases, dry eyes occur no matter what situation or environment you’re in. This generally means that there’s a problem with your tear system. You may experience:
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision
Chronic dry eyes have various causes, including aging, a side effect of medication, and certain medical conditions. For instance, people with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome often experience dry eyes.
You don’t have to simply put up with the discomfort of dry eyes. The optometrists at Valley Eye Professionals offer comprehensive treatment for dry eyes to bring patients relief.
Artificial tears are the first line treatment for dry eyes. These eye drops are similar to the tears your body makes. They’re convenient and available without prescription.
Many brands and types of artificial tears are available over-the-counter. Your doctor may recommend a particular brand or type of artificial tears after a thorough evaluation or suggest that you try different brands to find the one that works best for you.
People with chronic dry eyes may need to use artificial tears even when their eyes don’t feel dry. You can use these drops as often as you need to, and they’re often enough to relieve dry eyes.
Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend punctal plugs to treat your chronic dry eyes. Think of a punctal plug like the stopper in a bathtub. These tiny silicone or gel plugs are inserted into your tear ducts to help your natural tears remain in your eyes longer.
They work by blocking the pathway that drains your tears from the surface of your eye. This causes the fluid to remain on the surface, allowing the lubrication to last longer. Temporary punctal plugs are removed as needed, while permanent ductal plugs remain long-term.
Restasis® is a prescription medication used to treat chronic dry eyes caused by conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome. This chronic autoimmune disorder occurs when the glands that produce tears and saliva don’t function correctly.
Restasis works by suppressing the immune system to reduce inflammation in your tear glands. If your doctor recommends Restasis, it’s important to know that it can take anywhere from several weeks up to six months to experience therapeutic benefit.
If you’re suffering from dry eyes, relief is possible. For proper diagnosis and treatment of your chronic dry eyes, call the Valley Eye Professionals office in Los Angeles, California, or request an appointment online at your convenience.