Everybody occasionally has dry, itchy eyes, which might be caused by allergies, seasonal cold, or scratched contact lenses. But for the millions of Americans who suffer from dry eyes, those irritating symptoms are a chronic part of life rather than something that comes and goes occasionally. Dry eye disease is a chronic eye condition that develops when your eyes don't produce enough tears to keep your eye adequately lubricated.
The only method to accurately diagnose dry eye disease is to visit ophthalmology because there are many different things that might irritate the eyes. However, there are a few rather obvious symptoms of dry eye that should indicate you should schedule a consultation with an ophthalmologist.
Below are 5 symptoms of dry eye you should never ignore and report to the eye doctor.
1. Red eyes
Your eyes might be red due to swollen blood vessels in the whites, the outer layer of the eyeball. If you don't have an eye infection or allergies, your eyes are probably red because they are extremely dry. As a result of inadequate lubrication, when you blink your eyelids start rubbing against your cornea, the clearer portion of your eye. The cornea may get irritated if this rubbing continues long enough.
Meibomian gland dysfunction or insufficient production or release of lubricant by the oil glands lining the eyelids can also cause redness and irritation.
2. Light sensitivity
Light sensitivity may result from a disturbance of tear film in the eye. This happens because when light enters your eye, it initially reflects off of your tear film. Although the tear film should be one smooth, uniform layer, dry eyes can occasionally make it uneven. This causes light sensitivity also known as photophobia.
3. Blurry vision
Blurred vision is a common sign of a dry eye that often comes and goes. Vision may be clear in the morning, after a night of sleep. But when dryness sets in during the day, so does foggy vision. This situation involves the tears that cover the front of your eye. Before entering your eye, light initially reflects off of this tear film. Your vision may become blurry if there is a disruption in this layer, which dry eye may cause.
You can see quite well through a tear film if it is strong and smooth. However, your vision could be cloudy if the tear film isn’t properly protecting the eye.
4. Eye strain
Staring at phones, computer displays, electronic gadgets, or even paper books for long periods can dry your eyes. When staring at your gadgets, you tend to blink three times less than usual. People blink less frequently while engaged in tasks that require high levels of concentration, such as driving or embroidering. Driving at night while having tired eyes may also be very uncomfortable.
To prevent eye dryness when reading or driving, make sure to take a break every 40 minutes for at least 20 minutes. This will help reduce eye strain and keep the eyes moist.
5. Excess tearing
Although it may seem contradictory, excess tearing is really just your eye responding to anything that is bothering them, like poor lubrication. When eyes are dry, your tear glands get a signal from your cornea that it isn’t receiving enough tears, telling them to increase production to remove whatever is irritating your eye. These glands function as instructed, but your eye can only hold a certain amount of liquid before it begins to flow down your cheeks.
Evaporative dry eye syndrome is frequently seen in patients who complain of excessive tearing. The tear layer quickly evaporates when the eye's oil layer is insufficient, resulting in excessive tearing.