At some point or another we all experience dry eyes. Eye dryness can be caused by something as common as allergies, taking a walk on a windy day, or spending too much time on a smartphone or computer, but it could also signal a serious medical condition.
Blinking helps to keep the eyes moist and lubricated. In fact, by the time you read this article, you will have likely blinked nearly 40 times, and it’s something you likely won’t even notice.
There are a few reasons why the eyes require constant lubrication. For one, the cornea uses moisture to smooth over all those imperfections in the lens of the eye. Secondly, tears help remove dust, particles, and bacteria that we encounter on a daily basis. The oily film that is excreted by the Meibomian glands works to protect your eyes and is essential to their health.
When to Worry About Eye Dryness
As we mentioned earlier, there are a multitude of factors that can lead to eye dryness. Yet, when relief for dry eyes isn’t as easily relieved as taking a break from computer screens or using a few eyedrops, then it may be time to discuss your symptoms with a doctor, optometrist, or ophthalmologist.
Risk Factors for Dry Eyes
There are certain conditions that lead to decrease production of tears. These include:
- Medical conditions (lupus, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, thyroid disorders, etc.)
- Medications (hormone replacement, high blood pressure medication, antihistamines, birth control, Parkinson's disease medications, etc.)
- Eye injuries. Certain eye injuries can contribute to decreased production of tears.
- Aging. Like other bodily processes, the Meibomian glands slow down as people reach their senior years.
- Diet. A diet lacking omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A can lead to decreased tear production. Be sure to eat those leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and carrots! Even basic food items such as vegetable oils, walnuts, and fish can prove beneficial to those suffering from dry eyes.
Dry Eyes? Let's Talk.
If you frequently experience dry eyes or prolonged periods of dry eyes, call Pycraft Family Eye Care and speak with our Wooster optometrist. Dr. Scott Pycraft will discuss various treatments options and work with you to trace the cause of your eye dryness.