Dry Eyes? These Common Causes May Be to Blame!

By Eye Institute of Houston
June 15, 2020

Dry eye syndrome is a condition that you may have heard of before. It may be a condition that you’ve experienced but didn’t realize it due to a misperception about what symptoms look like. As common as dry eye syndrome is, it can be easily misunderstood. People often think that, if they have dry eye syndrome, they will have dry eyes all the time. This isn’t always how it looks. In many cases, people affected by dry eye syndrome experience symptoms intermittently and at varying severities. Dry eye syndrome can be a frustrating, chronic problem. It doesn’t have to be unmanageable though. Here, we discuss how to manage comfort by understanding what may be causing symptoms.

What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye may show up as a gritty sensation and excessive tearing. It may involve burning and redness, as well. When severe, the inflammation in the eye may cause noticeable swelling. Reasons these symptoms may develop include:

  • Weather. Dry air is a common trigger for dry eye symptoms. This makes sense because, when air is excessively dry, it dissolves the tear film more quickly than when the climate is more humid. Some people are more sensitive to dry air because of another factor affecting the tear film. In some cases, symptoms may be managed with over-the-counter lubricating eye drops.
  • Digital devices. It’s no secret that most people, including children, are spending more time using digital devices these days than previous generations. When we’re looking at a screen, we tend to blink much less frequently than when we are going about our day away from a screen. Blinking is vital to spreading the tear film across the eye. If it is suspected that digital device use is related to dry eye symptoms, the first remedy may be to decrease use whenever possible. When using computers, smart phones, and other devices, it is also necessary to be conscious about blinking and taking breaks to close the eyes. If necessary, lubricating eye drops may be used. If this does not improve symptoms, an eye exam should be scheduled to rule out other factors.
  • Blepharitis. This condition is a common factor that may coincide with the others we’ve mentioned. When we see a term that contains “itis,” we know that it involves inflammation. Blepharitis is inflammation in the eye caused by imbalance in the tear film that coats the ocular surface. The imbalance originates in the meibomian glands, which produce the oil that keeps the tear film from drying up too quickly. To correct blepharitis, it may be necessary to perform a noninvasive treatment to unblock the meibomian glands. Treatment combines warmth with gentle vibration of the eyelid.

The Eye Institute of Houston provides friendly care that keeps your eyes healthy. To schedule a visit to discuss dry eye symptoms, call (713) 668-7337.

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