What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome, or DES, is a chronic and typically progressive condition. According to the National Eye Institute, “nearly five million Americans 50 years of age and older are estimated to suffer from dry eyes;” although that is not to say dry eye syndrome will not occur at any age. “Of these, more than three million are women, and more than one and a half million are men.” Depending on its cause, DES may not be 100% curable, but it can be successfully managed therefore ensuring you are able to find relief from dry eyes.
Understanding Dry Eyes
First, it is important to understand that dry eye syndrome can be temporary, or it can be chronic. The symptoms, causes, and factors associated with DES are as varied as the people it inflicts. Here we discuss some of the more common symptoms and factors of dry eyes. Please note, however, that list is not intended to be an exhaustive one and that there may be more symptoms as well as more factors associated with dry eye syndrome.
What are the symptoms of dry eyes?
- Red eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Eyes feeling heavy
- Fatigued eyes
- Blurred vision
- Aching sensations
- Burning sensations
- Photophobia (light sensitivity)
- Foreign body sensation (the feeling that grit or some other material is in your eye)
- Decreased tolerance of reading, working on the computer, or any activity that requires sustained visual attention.
What factors are associated with dry eyes?
- Computer use
- Contact lens wear
- Indoor environment
- Outdoor environment
Finding Relief from Dry Eyes
Change Your Environment – As previously mentioned, certain environmental factors (both indoors and out) like air conditioning and forced heating systems and dry or windy weather conditions can hasten tear evaporation, leading to dry eyes. When windy out, try to limit your exposure to the elements by staying indoors, using a humidifier to offset any dry air in your home.
Supplement Your Diet – Research indicates that eating more essential omega-3 fatty acids found in certain seafood choices like salmon and tuna, walnuts, chia and hemp seeds, flaxseeds, egg yolks, palm oil, and soybean oil may relieve the symptoms of dry eyes. This fat is known for reducing inflammation in the body. You can also use omega-3 supplements found at your local health foods store.
Up Your Daily Water Intake – If you are suffering from DES, and frequently find yourself dehydrated, upping your water intake could help you find relief from dry eyes. Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day is highly recommended by health officials everywhere. You can also up your daily water intake by eating fluid-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and soups.
Use Artificial Tears – There are a number of nonprescription products for dry eyes that can be purchased at your local dry store. You should only use these products for mild cases of DES. Using eye drops, also known as artificial tears, up to four times per day can provide your eyes with the lubricant they need. For moderated to severe cases of dry eye syndrome, consult with your doctor.
If you have any questions regarding dry eye syndrome or any other diseases of the eye, please schedule a visit with Eye Physicians of North Houston by contacting us at (281) 893-1760, or visiting us online for more information at www.1960eye.com.