Dry eyes are a common eye problem. It can be caused by a lack of tear production or rapid evaporation.
Tears normally keep the eyes moistened and lubricated. However stinging, burning, dryness and redness will result if tears are not sufficient to keep the eyes wet and comfortable.
Tear production decreases with age, leaving delicate eye tissues exposed to the irritating effects of the environment and pollution. Some other environmental factors that can prompt dry eyes are the sun, wind, dry air from heating and air conditioning, and smoke.
Dry eyes are often diagnosed with a dye test or simple eye examination by your eye doctor. Treatment of dry eye syndrome varies based on the medical condition.
Over-the-counter eye drops or artificial tears and ointments help to reduce mild symptoms of dry eye. Warm compresses are also used to help open the gland pores in the eyelid margin.
There also are prescription drugs that will help sustain your body's ability to produce natural tears more effectively. In some cases punctual plugs can be inserted to keep the tears from draining out of the eye quickly. This procedure can be performed in the office and is painless and quick.
If you are suffering from dry eyes or other eye discomforts, you should obtain a complete eye examination.
Dr. Alla Hynes of Eye Care Physicians & Surgeons of Woodstock and Front Royal, is a board certified opthalmologist specializing and treating a wide variety of eye diseases. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like her to answer your questions in her column next month. Read her bio here.