Why Are My Eyes So Dry?

Even when you are in a great mood, your eyes are covered in tears. That helpful fluid keeps your eyes comfortable and healthy, providing water for moisture, oils for lubrication, and even antibodies that battle potential infections.

When your eyes are dry, it usually means that you don’t have enough tears to keep your eyes at their best. But why you’re struggling with dry eyes can vary. Anything from a health condition to lifestyle choices can be responsible. If you are wondering why your eyes are so dry, here’s what you need to know.

Dry Eye Symptoms

If you have dry eyes, you may experience a number of symptoms. It may feel like there’s grit or an eyelash in your eye. You may have some itching or stinging. Eye redness or fatigue can occur, and you may see some stringy mucus. In some cases, your vision may even get blurry, and you might become sensitive to light.

When the level of tears falls low enough, your eyes might start overproducing tears, leading to watery eyes. It’s a condition caused reflex tearing, where your nervous system tries to compensate for the lack of lubrication by over-moisturizing your eyes.

Causes of Dry Eye

While dry eyes are almost universally a signal that there aren’t enough tears to keep your eyes comfortable and healthy, the reason for the lack of tears can vary. Usually, tear production decreases naturally as a person ages, particularly for women who enter menopause.

Certain medications can be dehydrating and may lead to dry eye. Additionally, numerous health conditions can reduce tear production, including collagen vascular diseases, some autoimmune conditions, diabetes, and thyroid disorders.

A vitamin A deficiency may lead to dry eyes. Additionally, anyone who’s had tear gland damage may not produce enough tears, and people with eyelid problems may struggle to keep their eyes lubricated.

Lifestyle can also play a role. Wind and smoke can dry out the eyes. If you spend a lot of time driving, reading, on a computer, or using a smartphone, you may blink less, causing tears to evaporate more quickly or not be spread across the eye as often as needed.

Effective Dry Eye Treatments

Since there are numerous potential causes of dry eye, it’s always best to speak with a doctor. That way, they can determine if an underlying health condition may be responsible and that you receive proper treatment.

In most cases, dry eye symptoms can be relieved by using artificial tears (eye drops) or ointment. Many over the counter options can make your eyes more comfortable, though you may need to try a few to see which one works best for you. There are also prescription versions if your doctor thinks those are a better option.

If your case is severe, your doctor may recommend other treatments. For example, punctal occlusion – a process where the duct that allows tears to drain is plugged, either temporarily or permanently, to keep tears in your eye longer – may be appropriate in some situations. Lipiflow, where a device is used to unclog blocked eyelid tear glands, might also be recommended by a physician if a lack of oil is causing your dry eye.

At times, dietary changes, such as increasing the amount of omega-3 in your diet, may provide relief. Topical testosterone creams or steroid drops might also be on the table.

If you are struggling with dry eyes and you haven’t addressed it with a doctor, it’s time for a visit to your ophthalmologist or optometrist. Schedule an appointment at your nearest ECVA clinic today. Our skilled team will work diligently to determine the cause of your dry eyes and protect your health. We’ll create a customized treatment plan based on your unique needs, whatever they may be.

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Please be advised that as a health care provider, we will continue to provide services for our patients as necessary. We will also be adhering to infection control guidelines as provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

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Diabetic Eye Care Tips

If you have diabetes, you are at a greater risk of developing a variety of eye conditions or diseases, including blindness. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in individuals younger than 74.

Diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts all have a higher occurrence in those who have been diagnosed with diabetes. Additionally, you may struggle with conditions like dry eye. This can make your eyes feel incredibly uncomfortable and might affect your visual acuity.

If you want to make sure that your eyes remain healthy, here are some diabetic eye care tips to follow.

Keep Control of Your Blood Sugar

High blood sugar can alter your eye lens’ shape, leading to temporarily blurry vision. Additionally, elevated blood sugar can damage blood vessels in the eye, leading to issues with eye health and visual acuity.

By keeping your blood sugar as controlled as possible, you can avoid these issues. Make sure to speak with your doctor to identify an A1c goal and then work to achieve it and to keep your blood sugar in check each and every day.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

If you are diabetic, a healthy lifestyle is often essential. If you eat healthy, exercise, check your blood sugar often, and use any medications prescribed by your doctor, you have the best odds reducing your LDL cholesterol, and ensuring your heart health.

Healthy eating and exercise can help your eyes. They can ensure that you get the proper nutrients and maintain good blood flow. Additionally, it may lower your LDL cholesterol, something that, if left unchecked, may cause blood vessel damage that could harm your eyes.

If you have diabetes and have high blood pressure, you are increasing your odds of developing certain eye diseases and suffering from vision loss. By making healthy lifestyle changes that keep your blood pressure in the healthy range, you are protecting your eye health, too.

See Your Ophthalmologist Annually

Many diabetic eye diseases initially have no symptoms. By seeing your ophthalmologist every year and having a dilated eye exam, they can look for signs of damage before any changes to your vision occur. This can allow them to start treatment before symptoms appear, ensuring your vision is preserved or that the reduction is as limited as possible.

Schedule Emergency Eye Appointments If Necessary

Certain vision changes could indicate a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. If you begin to see black spots or lines in your vision that won’t disappear, see red spots or fog, experience sudden changes in visual acuity, or your eyes begin to struggle when adjusting to darkness, head to your eye doctor’s office immediately.

If you are diabetic and concerned about your eye health, make a plan to visit your ophthalmologist or optometrist right away. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic. Our skilled team will conduct a thorough exam, ensuring any health concerns can be addressed. Plus, they’ll work diligently to resolve any vision issues, allowing you to see clearly. We’ll design a personalized treatment plan based on your needs, ensuring your eyes can remain as healthy as possible.