Help! My Dry Eyes are Killing Me!

As the temperature and humidity drops, a common condition becomes prevalent. This condition is dry eye syndrome. Caused by a variety of factors, dry eye syndrome occurs when the body’s tears aren’t able to provide adequate lubrication for the eyes. This common condition causes a stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in the eyes. Sufferers may also experience difficulty wearing contact lenses, blurred vision and periods of excessive tearing. The good news is that dry eye syndrome is treatable.

Dry eyes are caused by a lack of adequate tears. The tear film is made up of water, oil and mucus. Some people have an imbalance in the quality of their tear film. Others simply do not produce enough tears to keep the eye adequately lubricated. Dry eyes are more common in women as well as those over the age of 50. Some medications can cause the eyes to be dry as well.

If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with an eye care provider to determine the cause and best treatment plan. Your doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam that includes measuring the volume and quality of tears produced by your eyes. This will help the doctor properly diagnose the cause of your dry eyes.

Most people who have mild or seasonal dry eyes can remedy their discomfort with over-the-counter eyedrops such as artificial tears. It is important to select the correct kind of drops as some actually dry the eye out even further (redness reducing drops).

For those with moderate to severe dry eyes, the treatment is a little more involved. Depending on the cause of the condition, your doctor may recommend closing the tear ducts with punctual plugs. This keeps the tears on the eye longer, relieving dry eye problems. Other treatment options include taking prescription eyedrops and fish or flax seed oil vitamin supplements. If inflammation is the cause of your dry eyes, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics to reduce it. Using a humidifier at night when sleeping is also beneficial.

For more information on dry eyes, or to schedule an appointment, call Raleigh Eye Center today at (919) 876-2427 or visit us online at