Cranking up the heater in the car and setting our thermostats to warmer temperatures during the winter may make us feel warm and cozy on those cold winter nights, but the drop in the temperature outside can also exacerbate dry eye symptoms.
Symptoms of dry eye can vary, but may include redness, grittiness, burning or a feeling that you have something in your eye, light sensitivity and eye fatigue. If you wear contact lenses, wearing time may be decreased or you may not be able to tolerate your contact lenses at all. Dry eye can cause your vision to be blurry or fluctuate and strange as it may seem, dry eye can cause excessive tearing which often leads you to believe that your eyes are not dry at all!
Tears are made up of three layers, the oily or lipid layer that lubricates the eye and prevents evaporation of tears, the watery or aqueous layer that nourishes and protects the cornea and the mucin layer which helps the tears adhere to the eye. Imbalance in any of these layers can cause dry eye symptoms.
For immediate relief many people reach for over-the-counter artificial tears or ointments found at the local drug store. Though it may provide temporary relief, artificial tears and other lubricants are just that—temporary. Be sure to ask your eye doctor which artificial tears are recommended as some drops that are available may actually have an adverse effect on dry eye and may even make your symptoms worsen!
To try a more natural approach to the treatment of dry eye symptoms, there are a few changes you can implement today that may help alleviate your dry eye discomfort.
Chronic dry eye is a condition that can impact your vision and your lifestyle. The good news is that there are many treatment options available for dry eye treatment. Prescription eye drops, punctual occlusion (plugs placed in the tear ducts to close the ducts that drain tears from the eye) and thermal massage (LipiFlow®) for blocked eyelid glands are just a few. The first step is to discuss your dry eye symptoms with an eye doctor who specializes in the treatment of dry eye. Together you will be able to customize a treatment to manage your dry eye symptoms that are affecting your vision and your lifestyle!
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