Dr. Raymund Garza, Therapeutic Optometrist, Raymund Garza, O.D. – 777 N TEXAS BLVD ALICE, TX 78332

5 Possible Reasons Why Your Eyes May Be So Dry and How to Find Relief

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Closeup on young woman with inflamed eyes.

Are your eyes feeling dry and irritated? You are not alone. Dry eyes are a common condition affecting millions of people worldwide. At Alice Family Eye Center, we understand how disruptive dry eyes can be to your daily life. In this article, we explore five possible reasons your eyes may be so dry and offer tips on finding relief.

Reasons Why Your Eyes Might Be Dry

The basic cause behind dry eye is a problem with the tear film that sits on the outside front area of the eye. This film is highly protective and lubricating, and it should be present in sufficient quantity and sufficient quality. Without this tear layer, your ocular surface becomes dry, irritated and maybe even painful. 

Your eyes have three basic layers of water, lipid, and mucus.  It is important to have each of the three layers of tear film in the right amounts to reduce the risk of developing dry eye. Did you know that even a watery eye can be a sign of dry eyes? Here are some other factors that can contribute to having dry eyes: 

1. Environmental Factors

Hot or Windy Weather

Spending too much time in a hot or windy environment can cause tears to evaporate quickly, leaving your eyes feeling dry and uncomfortable. On the other hand, sitting in an air-conditioned room during the summer or in a heated room during the winter for prolonged periods of time can also cause your eyes to dry out. Simple changes like wearing sunglasses when out in the sun, using a humidifier at home or in the office on low-humidity days or when running the air conditioner/heater can help maintain moisture in the air, preventing dryness.

2. Allergies

Allergies can also cause dry eyes. When your eyes come into contact with pollen or other allergens, your immune system releases histamines and other chemicals that trigger inflammation, leading to irritation and disruption of the tear film. This irritation can reduce tear production and increase tear evaporation, resulting in itching, redness, burning, watery eyes, and a gritty feeling.

3. Digital Eye Strain

In today’s digital age, prolonged screen time is a significant factor in dry eyes. Staring at computers, smartphones, or tablets for prolonged periods can lead to reduced blinking, which decreases the natural lubrication of your eyes. We recommend the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away. This practice helps reduce eye strain and maintain moisture. Non-preserved artificial tears may also be an immense help.

4. Medications and Health Conditions

Certain medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and decongestants, can reduce tear production. Health conditions like Sjögren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and hormonal changes during menopause can contribute to dry eyes. If you are taking medications or have a condition affecting your eye health, our Alice Family Eye Center team can provide personalized advice and treatment options.

5. Inadequate Blinking

Concentrating intensely on tasks like reading or working on a computer can lead to inadequate blinking, which can cause dry eyes. Blinking exercises can help. We often suggest our patients take regular breaks and consciously blink more frequently to ensure their eyes stay lubricated.

6. Lifestyle Habits

Smoking can worsen dry eyes. It irritates and inflames the eyes, leading to increased dryness. Quitting smoking improves your overall health and benefits your eye health. At Alice Family Eye Center our team can provide you with resources and advice to help you make healthier lifestyle choices.

Tips for Relieving Dry Eyes at Home

To alleviate dry eyes, try using non-preserved artificial tears. Non-preserved tears have the advantage of not having preservatives, which can often cause further irritation or allergies. To get a good therapeutic effect, you must use these drops often throughout the day to hydrate your eyes.  Using drops once or twice a day is typically not enough.  Remember to hydrate your eyes often, much like drinking water throughout the day.  

Over-the-counter eye drops can provide immediate relief. Practice good eye hygiene, like removing make up before you go to bed. We also encourage warm compresses and lid scrubs to enhance lid hygiene further and to help loosen oil from your eye’s oil glands.  This oil or lipid layer is crucial to prevent your tears from evaporating too quickly.

When to Seek Professional Help for Dry Eyes

If your symptoms persist despite trying simple remedies we have suggested, it is time to consult our eye care professionals. At Alice Family Eye Center, we offer comprehensive evaluations to determine the underlying causes of your dry eyes and recommend effective treatments. Severe symptoms or sudden changes in vision require immediate medical attention. If you have tried over-the-counter products without success, you may need prescription eyes drops or advanced therapies such as Optilight or punctal plugs.

Conclusion: Taking Care of Your Eyes

You have now learned 5 of the reasons your eyes might be dry and that having dry eyes is a common condition that is treatable with help from Alice Family Eye Center. Dry eyes can greatly affect the way your eyes feel, can cause eye pain, and can even affect your eyesight. If you are experiencing dry eye and live in or around Alice, please do not hesitate to contact Alice Family Eye Center to schedule an appointment with Dr. Garza. Call Alice Family Eye Center today at (361) 668-3937 for more information or to schedule your eye exam.

Alice Family Eye Center
Alice, TX.

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