Do you feel like you constantly have something in your eye? Have your eyes been so irritated that it prevents you from wearing contacts or disrupts your vision? Dry eye occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly, or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly.
Dry eye symptoms may include any of the following:
- stinging or burning of the eye;
- a sandy or gritty feeling as if something is in the eye;
- episodes of excess tears following very dry eye periods;
- a stringy discharge from the eye;
- pain and redness of the eye;
- episodes of blurred vision;
- heavy eyelids;
- inability to cry when emotionally stressed;
- uncomfortable contact lenses;
- decreased tolerance of reading, working on the computer, or any activity that requires sustained visual attention;
- eye fatigue.
When are dry itchy eyes a medical concern?
Think about the frequency of your dry eyes. Underlying conditions such as allergies, screen staring, pregnancy and dry temperatures are common causes of dry eye. They typically create only a temporary situation. For immediate relief, try using an artificial, preservative free tear drop. A broad variety can be purchased over the counter and should bring temporary comfort to your eyes.
If you have discomfort and dryness that receives little to no relief with drops it’s time to see your eye doctor. Depending on your condition, the doctor may use various approaches to relieve the symptoms. A chronic dry eye condition occurs when a person cannot create enough tears on their own, thus leading to dry irritated eyes. It can be caused by contact lens use, medications, advanced age, environmental factors or inflammation. Make an appointment with your ophthalmologist or optometrist to discuss your symptoms and possible treatments.