Do you find yourself struggling with dry, red or irritated eyes? If you answered yes, you are not alone.
Dry eye syndrome is an eye condition that affects a large percentage of our population. The condition can be triggered by everything from the weather to hormonal changes, and also can be a symptom of an underlying health problem.
Read this article to find out what could be causing your eye trouble and learn how to tackle it.
Dry Eyes: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options
What are dry eyes?
Dry eye is a condition in which a person does not have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults.
- What is the cause of dry eyes?
- Medical conditions
- Environmental conditions
- How are dry eyes diagnosed?
Dry eyes can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. Testing, with emphasis on the evaluation of the quantity and quality of tears produced by the eyes, may include:
- Patient history
- External examination of the eye
- Evaluation of the eyelids and cornea
- Measurement of the quantity and quality of tears for any abnormalities.
With the information obtained from testing, your optometrist can determine if you have dry eyes and advise you on treatment options.
- How are dry eyes treated?
- Adding tears. Mild cases of dry eyes can often be managed using over-the-counter artificial tear solutions. These can be used as often as needed to supplement natural tear production. Preservative-free artificial tear solutions are recommended because they contain fewer additives, which can further irritate the eyes.
- Conserving tears. Keeping natural tears in the eyes longer can reduce the symptoms of dry eyes. This can be done by blocking the tear ducts through which the tears normally drain.
- Increasing tear production. Your optometrist can prescribe eye drops that increase tear production. Taking an omega-3 fatty acid nutritional supplement may also help.
Tiredness of eyes
A tired eye is another term for what is commonly known as eyestrain – when eyes feel achy, weak, or heavy due to intense use.
What Causes Tired Eyes?
Tired eyes can come from any number of activities. Some of the most common include working on the computer for too long, poor lighting conditions, driving a car for prolonged periods of time, reading for long periods, or any other activity that may require the eyes to maintain intense focus for long periods of time.
What are the symptoms of Tired Eyes
Common signs and symptoms of eyestrain include:
- Soreness of the eyes
- Dry eyes
- Watery eyes
- Back, neck, and shoulder pain
- General overall fatigue
- Feeling of heaviness in eyes
What are the treatments for Tired Eyes
Some common practices that can reduce the effects of eye strain are:
- Check your lightings:
- Take breaks: give yourself regular short breaks from near work tasks, whether this is using a computer or doing fine embroidery
- Ensure that your glasses or contact lens prescription is up-to-date
Beacon Hospital Malaysia
Written by: Dr. Ong Chin Tuan, Ophthalmologist with specialisation in oculoplastic, lacrimal and orbital surgery