The Dangers of Dry Eyes
When it comes to our vision, dry eyes may not seem like something we need to worry much about. However, the reality is that dry eyes can pose damage on our vision. Despite being very common, not everyone knows how to prevent or the most effective treatment of dry eyes.
Dry eye is classified as when a person does not have enough tears to properly lubricate and nourish their eyes. Quality tears are essential to maintaining the health of the front of the eye, as well as for maintaining clear vision. Symptoms of dry eyes commonly include but are not limited to, redness, stringy mucus near the eye, blurry visions, and stinging, scratching, or burning sensations.
This January is shaping up to be a cold one! As we begin to see a drop in temperatures and forecasts of snow are on the rise, it is important to consider the effect this weather can have on your eyes. While many factors can lead to dry eyes, cold weather is a common one especially during this time of year.
Environmental factors such as lower indoor humidity and high winds, commonly associated with winter weather, can easily contribute to dry eyes as they contribute to tear evaporation. To protect yourself from developing worsening symptoms, you can implement the use of artificial tears, eye ointments, humidifiers, and warm compresses to help your eyes produce quality tears and remain properly lubricated.
Sign of Aging
In addition to cold weather, dry eyes can also naturally be caused by the aging process. In fact, most adults over the age of 65 experience some symptoms of dry eyes. Studies have also shown that the risk for dry eye increases every five years after the age of 50 in both women and men, though women are thought to have a generally higher susceptibility.
As we grow older, the lacrimal gland in our eyes naturally produces a lower number of tears necessary to maintain proper eye lubrication. While growing older is unavoidable, dry eyes do not have to be. To offset the effect of this and other factors for dry eye caused by the aging process, you may consider using over-the-counter treatments like eye drops, drinking at least 8 cups of water a day, using a humidifier in your home, and reducing screen time.
Consistent computer use has also been shown to commonly cause eye strain, irritation, burning sensations, and eye dryness. It is common for computer users to have a decreased blink rate, which can contribute to dry eyes by way of an improper level of lubrication. For contact lens wearers, this is found to be even higher.
Because computer use is increasingly an unavoidable part of our society, it is essential to make sure you are properly caring for your eyes and compensating for any strain or dryness looking at a screen may cause. Patients should consider the use of lubricating eye drops (those designed for use for contact lens wearers) to improve and reduce dryness and irritation. You should also try to take frequent breaks from using your computer and maintain a fair distance between yourself and the screen.
If you believe you are suffering from dry eyes, the condition can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam. The doctors at Bissell Eye Care may also choose to evaluate the quantity and quality of the tears your eyes are producing to check for any abnormalities. External examination of the eye and a review of your patient history may also help your doctor determine if you are suffering from dry eyes and how to proceed with treatment.
About Bissell Eye Care: John D. Bissell, OD owns and operates Bissell Eye Care servicing Northern Pittsburgh and Alle-Kiski Valley regions. With two locations to treat patients, we offer evening and Saturday appointments. Bissell Eye Care provides comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family beginning as early as 6 months, ocular disease detection and treatment, eyeglasses, sunglasses, activewear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. We accept most types of vision and health insurance plans. For more information, visit bisselleyecare.com or call our Bakerstown Office at 724-443-6767 or Natrona Heights office at 724-226-0444.