Anyone can get dry eyes. The condition can cause so much discomfort and become worse if left untreated. Various factors can increase your risk for dry eyes. The modern world has also contributed to the prevalence of dry eye syndrome. The use of inventions such as indoor cooling and heating systems affect how your eyes retain moisture. Dry eyes can cause severe damage to the eyes. Read on to learn whether dry eyes can contribute to an eye infection.
Dry eyes are a condition that occurs when the tears cannot produce enough or quality tears to lubricate the eye surface. The eye surface needs to remain moist and lubricated to remain healthy. Dry eyes that remain untreated can result in dryness, which can damage the eyeball surface.
Below are the signs and symptoms that arise due to dry eyes:
A scratchy, burning, and stinging sensation in the eyes
A sensation of having something foreign in the eye
Stringy mucus around and inside the eyes
Watery eyes due to irritation caused by dry eyes
Difficulty driving at night
Difficulty wearing contact lenses
Healthy eyes constantly have a fluid membrane called the tear film to enable clear vision and protect the eyes from getting dry. Tear production happens in the tear glands. Dry eyes mainly occur due to insufficient tear production and an imbalance in the tear film, which causes quick tear evaporation.
A tear comprises water to add moisture to the eye surface. It has oils for lubrication and mucus to help with the even spreading of the oil and mucus. Lastly, it has proteins and antibodies to protect the eye from infections.
Aging naturally, especially during menopause, can cause dry eyes. You can also develop symptoms from taking some drugs such as antihistamines. Your eyes can also struggle to make tears when you get conditions like collagen vascular diseases and rheumatoid arthritis.
Dry eyes can cause complications such as eye infection. Tears play a significant role in protecting your eye surface. Poor quality or inadequate tears for lubrication and moisture can lead to an eye infection.
Various situations can increase the risk for dry eye symptoms. Finding ways to avoid such conditions can help prevent experiencing dry eyes. You can avoid exposing your eyes to direct blowing air, such as hair dryers, fans, or air conditioners. A humidifier can help add moisture to the dry air in your home.
Wear protective eyewear or wraparound sunglasses to block dry air or wind from entering your eyes. It is also essential to take breaks after spending time doing tasks such as using your computer. Blink repeatedly to spread tears across your eye surface. You can also close your eyes for a few seconds.
Your environment can play a significant role in how your eyes remain lubricated. Be aware of your surroundings. If you are in dry climates such as deserts, high altitudes, or an airplane, try to close your eyes frequently to minimize tear evaporation.
You can slow tear evaporation by positioning your computer monitor below eye level to avoid opening your eyes wide. If you smoke, work with your medical care provider to devise a plan to help you quit the habit. Nonsmokers should also avoid cigarette smoke to avoid worsening their dry eye symptoms.
Regular use of artificial tears can help keep your eyes lubricated to reduce the symptoms. Eye drops can help add moisture even if your eyes do not feel dry.
For more about dry eyes, visit Urban Optics at our office in College Station, Texas. Call (979) 690-0888 to book an appointment today.