Dry eyes are irritative to say the least. While occasional dry eyes are common and usually resolve on their own, chronic dry eyes are a different story. They can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, and without proper treatment, can lead to serious complications.
Many factors can lead to dry eyes, from autoimmune disorders to lifestyle factors such as excessive screen time. It’s essential to identify the underlying causes of chronic dry eyes to seek appropriate treatment and relief. Fortunately, you can learn everything you need to know about chronic dry eyes and how it’s treated with a search online right now.
Studies show that chronic dry eye can be a symptom of several autoimmune disorders, such as scleroderma, lupus, Sjögren’s Syndrome, Grave’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. For example, Grave’s disease, a type of thyroid disorder, can impact the muscles and tissues around the eye, including the tear ducts, resulting in decreased tear production.
The Mayo Clinic links dry eyes to a nutritional deficiency, namely a vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A-rich food sources include sweet potatoes, leafy greens, broccoli, pumpkin, and carrots can help maintain the natural health and lubrication of the eyes. Upping your intake of omega-3 fatty acids can also help encourage natural eye lubrication and relieve red, itchy, dry eyes.
Contact Lens Wearers
Long-term contact lens wearers can gradually develop dry eyes over time. Long-term wearing of contact lenses can interfere with the natural layer of tears that coats and protects the surface of the eyes.
Contact lenses can lead to the evaporation of this natural layer of lubrication, causing the eyes to feel dry and gritty. Contact lens wearers can combat dry eyes by swapping out lenses for glasses regularly or by opting for a more moisturizing pair of disposable contact lenses.
Excessive Screen Time
Excessive screen time can significantly lower how often you blink your eyes, and blinking is the natural way your eyes re-lubricate with a secretion of tears, mucus, and natural oils.
Many medications can lead to dry eyes, with antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications, sleeping pills, diuretics, blood pressure drugs, and painkillers being the most notable. If you’re experiencing dry eyes due to a new medication, talk to your doctor about an appropriate alternative.
Age-Related Dry Eye
As we age, our body begins to gradually decline, and the eyes, along with the rest of the body, also experience the byproducts of aging. With age, the tear ducts can suffer inflammation and produce fewer tears, and this is common, with roughly 30% of individuals over 50 years of age experiencing chronic dry eye as a result.
Corrective Eye or Eyelid Surgery
Dry eye can be a common side effect of corrective eye or eyelid surgeries, along with poor night vision (halos and blurred vision in dark). Folks who undergo corrective eye or eyelid surgeries can experience dry eyes for up to six months following their surgery.
During the LASIK procedure, nerves are cut in the anterior cornea to create a flap, which can decrease normal corneal sensitivity and create a subtle sensation of dryness that stimulates tearing up and blinking. These same nerves trigger the production of tears. Post-surgery the eyes may not tear or blink normally, so the use of artificial tears is recommended until new nerves and sensation rejuvenates in the cornea.
Help Is Out There!
Chronic dry eyes can be an annoying and frustrating condition that can negatively impact your daily life. It’s crucial to identify the underlying causes of this condition to seek appropriate treatment and relief. From autoimmune disorders to excessive screen time, various factors can lead to chronic dry eyes.
Seeking professional help and following proper eye care practices can alleviate symptoms and prevent further damage to your eyes. If you are experiencing symptoms of chronic dry eyes, don’t hesitate to seek help from an eye care professional. With proper treatment and care, you can manage and overcome chronic dry eyes and enjoy clear, comfortable vision.