Understanding Dry Eyes

Dry Eye is a common condition that can be a nuisance in day-to-day life. In fact, nearly 16 million Americans experience dry eye and it can occur more as you age.

You may have complained about dry eyes before, but do you know what causes it?

First, it’s important to know that every time you blink, tears spread across the cornea to provide lubrication. This process helps rid the eye of foreign matter, keep the eye’s surface smooth and clear and reduces the risk of eye infection. The excess tears flow into drainage ducts in the inner corner of the eyelids.

When tear production and drainage are not in balance, dry eyes are likely to occur. Tear production naturally decreases as we age, making this condition more common in older adults.

Other common causes of dry eye include:

  • Excess screen time
  • Certain medications
  • Swollen or red eyes
  • Windy or dry climates

The good news is dry eyes are easy to treat. In many cases, simple lifestyle changes are enough to alleviate symptoms. Follow these tips to help dry eyes:

  • Use a humidifier
  • Limit screen time
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses outside
  • Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night

If you are experiencing persistent dry eyes, your eye doctor can conduct an exam to assess your eyes and tear production. Your eye doctor may recommend artificial tears – non-prescription eye drops that are similar to your own tears.  

In more serious cases of dry eye, your eye doctor may prescribe medication to help your eyes to produce more tears.

The information contained above is intended to be educational in nature, does not constitute medical advice, and should not be relied on as a substitute for actual professional medical advice, care or treatment. If you have any vision, dental or other health related concerns, VBA encourages you to immediately contact your optometrist/ophthalmologist, dentist/orthodontist or any other competent, licensed, medical professional.