Your Questions, Our Answers: Dry Eyes FAQs
Have you been diagnosed with dry eye syndrome? Or are you experiencing dry eye symptoms?
We’ve put together a list of the key dry eyes FAQs we keep hearing to help you better understand this condition.
Take a closer look now at our dry eyes frequently asked questions.
What Is Dry Eye?
Dry eye occurs when the tear glands around the eyes don’t produce enough quality tears to lubricate the eyes or there is an imbalance in the tear film. The tear film lubricates the surface of the eye, spreading across it with each blink to keep it clear and smooth. Tears also wash away small particles of dust and other foreign matter, reducing the risk of eye infection.
Can Dry Eye Occur at Any Age?
Yes. While dry eye is most common in adults over 65 years of age, it may affect anyone, including children.
What Causes Dry Eye?
Dry eye occurs when the tear glands around the eye do not produce enough tears. It may also occur when the different layers that make up the tear film become imbalanced causing tears not to spread evenly over the cornea or to evaporate too quickly.
Aging, dry climates, smoke, certain medication, refractive eye surgery, long-term use of contact lenses, and extended computer use can all cause dry eye. Several medical conditions may also trigger the condition including blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid), diabetes, and thyroid disorders.
Can Working on a Computer Cause Dry Eye?
Yes. Spending extended periods in front of a screen reduces your blink rate—the number of times you blink per minute. Not blinking at the normal rate can prevent the spreading of the tear film over the cornea, leading to a sandy feeling in your eye.
Can Working in an Air-Conditioned Environment Contribute to Dry Eye?
Yes. Air conditioning systems may create dry and drafty environments that can trigger symptoms of dry eye.
Are Men or Women More Likely to Get Dry Eye?
Women have a higher risk to develop the condition because of pregnancy-induced hormonal changes and menopause. Oral contraceptives can also increase the risk.
Eye Dryness Is the Characteristic Symptom of Dry Eyes?
Correct. Other symptoms of dry eye may include gritty sensation, burning, redness, irritation, light sensitivity, and blurry vision. While it may sound contradictory, excessive tearing may also occur when you have dry eyes.
What to Do for Dry Eyes?
- When using a screen for more than a few minutes, blink often and take a break every 20 minutes to look at a distant object for 20 seconds or close your eyes.
- Apply a warm damp cloth to your eyes.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Use eyeglasses instead of contact lenses, which can make the condition worse.
- Wear sunglasses outdoors.
- Avoid smoke.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Take an eye health supplement formulated to help with dry eye.
Can You Treat and Cure Dry Eye Through Diet?
Antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamins D, A, and C, zinc, and essential fatty acids may help relieve dry eye symptoms in some people. Consider taking an eye health supplement and other vitamins to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients and help your tear glands create quality tears to lubricate your eyes.
What Is the Best Dry Eye Treatment?
The best dry eye treatment focuses on the underlying causes of the condition. Some people can increase tear production through dietary changes and supplements instead of having to use artificial tears. Others may have to address other conditions causing dry eye, such as eye inflammation.
Surgical procedures that block or close the tear ducts to keep the tears in the eye for longer may be necessary in some cases.
If you are experiencing mild symptoms, you may want to start with habit changes such as blinking your eyes more often in front of screens while also adding an eye health supplement to your diet.
How to Cure Dry Eyes Permanently?
Dry eye may be cured if it’s caused by medication, medical conditions that can be treated—such as eyelid inflammation—environmental factors, like smoke or dryness, or poor diet leading to vitamin deficiencies which in turn affect the quality of the tear film. In these cases, addressing the cause can make dry eye go away. But even when dry eye becomes a chronic condition, it can be managed successfully so that your quality of life doesn’t suffer.
What Foods Should I Eat If I Have Dry Eyes?
Eat foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, Vitamin E, and zinc. These nutrients play a key role in eye health and can help you better manage the condition.
Good foods for eye health include nuts and seeds, peanut butter, leafy greens, blueberries, goji berries, almonds, chia seeds, citrus fruits, whole grains, chickpeas, quinoa, oily fish, and eggs.
Can I Prevent Dry Eyes?
Many controllable factors can contribute to the development of the condition or make the symptoms worse. You may be able to prevent dry eyes by blinking regularly when staring at a screen or reading, using a humidifier in a dry home or office environment, wearing sunglasses outside, avoiding dehydration, and avoiding smoke and very dry environments such as airplanes.
Eating foods that promote eye health (see the previous question) and taking nutritional supplements containing lutein, zeaxanthin, omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, and Vitamins D, E, and C may also help ward off the condition.
Is Dry Eye Serious?
Recognizing the signs of dry eye and addressing underlying causes makes the condition manageable. Dry eye may come with unpleasant symptoms, but it doesn’t have to get in the way of your everyday tasks or decrease the quality of your life. Dry eye can become more severe if you neglect it and don’t try to reduce the factors that trigger it.
Can I Get Dry Eyes After LASIK?
Yes. Refractive eye surgery may disrupt your tear film for several months after the surgery. Your eye doctor may offer advice and prescribe medication to help you deal with this problem.
Can Dry Eye Lead to Complications?
Untreated, chronic dry eye increases the risk for eye infection and may cause abrasions on the cornea and ulcers. In rare cases, dry eye may cause irreversible vision loss that can affect your ability to perform certain tasks such as read of work on a computer.
I Think I Have Dry Eyes—Should I Get My Eyes Checked?
Seeing an optometrist is a good idea if your symptoms are severe or last for more than a few weeks. A comprehensive eye exam together with tear testing can help you understand what’s causing the condition. It can also help optimize your treatment.
Is There an Online Dry Eye Test?
Yes. You can find out whether you may have dry eyes fast. Our easy online dry eye test takes only a few minutes and can help you determine whether you have dry eye symptoms. All you have to do is answer a series of questions related to your symptoms.