Dry eye has a list of curious symptoms, from light sensitivity to being unable to shed a tear. And, if your eyes have that red, itchy, icky feeling and your Mann Eye Institute doctor has ruled out allergies, then you likely suffer from dry eye syndrome.
Getting rid of your symptoms starts with finding the 3 main causes of dry eyes—for simplicity’s sake, let’s call them the IDIs of dry eyes:
- Increased tears
- Decreased tears
- Imbalanced tears
Let’s examine each of these problems more closely.
Increased tears or watery eyes may happen because the lack of moisture irritates your eyes, sending a signal to your nervous system for more lubrication. While this may seem counterintuitive and confusing, it’s not. This condition is called reflex tearing. Basically, you get flooded with fake tears. It’s a lot like the feeling you get with pollen or sand in your eye and it continuously runs. Those tears don’t coat your eye’s surface as they should because they are mostly water.
Decreased tears is when you simply can’t produce tears or cry, which is not healthy. Mucous membranes must be wet at all times for optimal eye health. Reasons for decreased tear production include: aging; hormonal changes; frequent contact lens changes; inflammation associated with different medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, thyroid disorders, vitamin A deficiency); and use of medications (e.g. antihistamines or antidepressants).
Imbalanced tears result when tears are out of whack and the salt level in your tears is “off.” This may indicate you have an ocular inflammation resulting in dryness, itchiness and variable vision. Your eyes need to maintain a complex balance of water, fatty oils and mucus to keep the right moisture level on the ocular surface and to prevent infection. It’s like the pH balance in pool water, which needs careful monitoring. Your eye balance might be off between the aqueous, oily and mucin layers that comprise your tears.
So what else can we blame on dry eyes? Any weather-related cold and dry spells, as well as the humidity of Houston, can cause disruption of tears. In addition, doing near work (emailing, texting, reading, working, gaming) on computers and smartphones for prolonged periods of time can interfere with quality and quantity of blinks, which means not enough natural tears.
Houston + Austin Dry Eye: Because You Can’t Fix the Waterworks Yourself
For sure, dry eye is a pain. If left untreated, dry eye syndrome can cause several side effects, from irritated and red eyes to more severe corneal infections that can affect your quality of life. At Mann Eye Institute, we have an Ocular Surface Treatment Center where we thoroughly analyze your tear components to confirm your diagnosis. Upon assessing what is causing your dry eyes, we recommend a custom treatment plan.
Mann Eye Institute happily offers the LipiFlow System, which attacks the root cause of dry eye syndrome. LipiFlow acts as a gentle heat massage to unclog the glands found on the rim of your eyelid. When they’re free and clear, they’re able to function properly to keep more tears on your eye’s surface.
LipiFlow is a non-invasive, in-office procedure that takes only minutes to complete for each eye. Many patients report noticeable improvement in the days following treatment, with relief continuing to improve 3 to 4 weeks after the procedure.
Mann Eye Institute in Houston and Austin also offer other fantastic options to care for dry eyes. Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your best solution to SEE LIFE BETTER.