Dry Eyes Awareness Month: Bringing Attention to Dry Eyes This July

Did you know that July is Dry Eye Awareness Month? 

To mark this significant period, we’re dedicating this blog post to demystify the common yet often overlooked issue of dry eyes. From explaining what dry eyes are, to diving into their causes, treatments, and prevention strategies, we’ll arm you with the knowledge you need to take care of your eye health.

Understanding Dry Eyes

Tears play a pivotal role in the overall health and function of our eyes. They consist of three layers: an oily layer, a watery layer, and a mucus layer. Each layer has its unique role with the oily layer preventing rapid tear evaporation, the watery layer washing away irritants, and the mucus layer ensuring an even spread of tears across the eye.

Dry eyes occur when there’s an imbalance in this tear system. This can be due to insufficient tear production or quick tear evaporation, preventing adequate eye lubrication. Symptoms can vary from a stinging or burning sensation, blurred vision, or redness, to an unexpected overproduction of tears. Although it seems counterintuitive, excessive tearing is the body’s response to the discomfort caused by dry eyes, attempting to restore moisture balance.

The Causes of Dry Eyes

The onset of dry eyes can be attributed to a range of factors. Age plays a significant role, with tear production naturally tapering off as we grow older. Women, especially those post-menopause, are more likely to experience dry eyes due to hormonal shifts.

Certain medical conditions also increase the likelihood of dry eyes. These include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, diabetes, thyroid disorders, and Sjogren’s syndrome. Additionally, environmental factors such as exposure to smoke, wind, or dry climates can worsen dry eye symptoms.

Your lifestyle habits can also contribute to dry eyes. Prolonged periods of screen time, reading, or any activity that reduces blinking can result in dry eyes, as blinking helps distribute tears evenly across your eyes. Also, long-term use of contact lenses and certain medications, such as antihistamines, heart medications, and certain types of antidepressants, may lead to dry eyes.

Diagnosing Dry Eyes

If you’re experiencing symptoms of dry eyes, it’s essential to consult an eye care professional. At Community Eye Care Specialists, our team will carry out a comprehensive eye examination, evaluating your eyelids, blinking function, and the surface of your eye. We may also perform tests to measure your tear production rate and the quality of your tears


Treating and Preventing Dry Eyes

The good news is, dry eyes can be managed effectively. Treatments often focus on restoring or maintaining a normal amount of tears in the eyes to minimize dryness and related discomfort. Here are some strategies:

Artificial Tears: These over-the-counter eye drops mimic your natural tears and can be used as often as needed to supplement natural tear production.

Prescription Medications: Certain prescribed medications can help your eyes produce more tears by reducing inflammation.

Punctal Plugs: Tiny silicone or gel plugs may be inserted in the tear ducts to slow the drainage of tears, thereby keeping your eyes more lubricated.

Environmental Modifications: Making changes to your environment, like avoiding smoke or using a humidifier, can alleviate dry eye symptoms.

Healthy Habits: Regular breaks from screen time, wearing wrap-around glasses to shield against wind and dust, and maintaining a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can all help manage and prevent dry eyes.

In honor of Dry Eye Awareness Month, we urge you to prioritize your eye health. If you’re experiencing any symptoms of dry eyes, please schedule an appointment with Community Eye Care Specialists. Our team of professionals is here to provide personalized treatment plans and offer resources to help you maintain optimal eye health.

Remember, your eyes are a crucial part of your well-being, and taking action today can save your vision for tomorrow. Let’s say goodbye to dry eyes together!

If you have more questions or if it’s time for your regular check-up, reach out to us.

We’re here to guide you on your journey towards better eye health. Click here to schedule an appointment with our caring and dedicated team today. Our mission is to provide excellent eye care and keep your world in clear focus.

Warren Surgery and Laser Center

(814) 726-2303