What is Dry eye Syndrome?

 In Eye Care

Here at Piedmont EyeCare, we treat more than your vision. The health of your eye goes far beyond how well you see. It includes how the tissue around your eye performs, including whether or not it produces enough moisture. Your eye relies on moisture. Without moisture, your eyelids will irritate your eye as you blink, similar to how your legs might chafe when rubbing against one another. This is incredibly uncomfortable should it ever happen. 

One cause is known as dry eye syndrome. But what is dry eye syndrome? Here at Piedmont EyeCare, we want to educate you on everything regarding your eye health, including health concerns such as this. So, whether you believe you have this syndrome or you’re concerned about your overall eye health, we’ve got the answers you’re looking for – what is dry eye syndrome.

What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Your eyes naturally produce lubrication to keep your eyes moist. This is produced through the tear gland and tear ducts, located above and to the side of your eye. When your tear gland cannot produce the necessary moisture, it results in a dry eye that’s easily irritated.

Many individuals that wear contact lenses must supplement their eye’s moisture production because the tears do not always flow naturally above and behind the contact. Prolonged dry eye syndrome may result in you scratching your eye and a lingering feeling of discomfort. This may lead to inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva.

Dry eye syndrome usually is connected with what is known as dysfunctional tear syndrome. This occurs when your tear glands produce a lower than needed amount of tears.

What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common eye conditions in the world. Five percent of the world population suffers from dry eye syndrome, yet in some pockets of the world, it increases to 50 percent.

There are several risk factors, including your age (you’re more likely to suffer from the syndrome at an older age), if you’re female, and spend long periods in front of a computer screen. The harsh blue and violet light produced by the computer screen is more intensive radiation waves (more powerful than colors like red, yellow, and orange). The intensity of the light rays increases the potential of drying out the eyes.

Beyond sitting in front of a blue light device for hours a day, all other dry eye syndrome causes are associated with your genetics. If your parents or grandparents suffered from it, you’re more likely to suffer from it as well.

The reason your tear glands are unable to produce sufficient moisture is connected to three different issues. First, the oil produced by local meibomian glands may not function correctly. The goblet cells in the eye’s conjunctiva area (the protective barrier over the whites of the eyes) may not produce the necessary mucin or the lacrimal glands, which are found in the upper portion of your eyelids, may not create the watery substance needed for tears. If there is even a minor issue with either of these three locations, there is a greater chance you’ll suffer from dry eye syndrome.

Environmental Causes

If you suffer from dry eye syndrome throughout the year, regardless of location or what you’re doing, you likely have a problem with one of the three areas listed above. However, if your dry eyes occur in only specific settings, there likely is an environmental problem. Beyond extended computer use, indoor AC, forced air systems, or reduced humidity within a room can lead to dry eyes, as can extremely wind conditions outside (which is one reason why your eyes water during a heavy wind). Smoking and certain medications may cause dry eye syndrome, as well. If you smoke, you need to look into quitting, and if you recently started a new medication, make sure to talk to your doctor about the side effects you’re experiencing.

If you recently underwent LASIK eye surgery, you may be experiencing temporarily dry eye syndrome. Your eye is still recovering from the surgery, but the dryness should go away in time.

What Are Dry Eye Symptoms?

Whenever your eyes feel uncomfortable, it is a good idea to see the eye doctor. However, there are a handful of symptoms you specifically need to be aware of in connection with dry eye syndrome. A burning sensation is one thing. Like rubbing your hands together and warming the skin, and an eyelid rapidly blinking over a dry eye will cause friction, leading to this burning heat. A dry eye also won’t protect from environmental elements, which may lead to the burning sensation.

Itchy, aching, and sore eyes are additional symptoms you’ll want to look for. Other symptoms you might experience while dealing with dry eye syndrome include heavy eyes, eyes that are fatigued, photophobia, redness, dryness, and blurred vision. If you regularly experience even one of these symptoms, you need to schedule an eye doctor appointment.

Schedule Your Next Eye Exam Today

Do you currently suffer from dry eye syndrome and looking for a dry eye treatment? Perhaps you suspect it, but you’re not exactly sure what is dry eye syndrome? An eye exam can help pinpoint what is causing your dry eyes. Here at Piedmont EyeCare, we’re here for all of your eye health needs. Whether you’re looking for answers regarding what is dry eye syndrome, you simply haven’t had an eye exam in a while now, or you want to find out whether you need corrective lenses, our staff will provide you with an eye exam. And we can give you other optical services that are necessary. 

We offer optometry services for the entire family. So, whether you need help correcting your dry eye syndrome or you want to get your child in for an eye exam because they’re suffering from headaches, all you need to do is give us a call and schedule your next eye exam right here at Piedmont EyeCare.

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