Many factors can make your eyes dry — windy or dry conditions and allergies top the list. Even being overly tired can cause your eyes to sting, dry out, and signal that it is time for them to enjoy some rest.
When you find yourself rubbing your dry, itchy eyes more often and using over-the-counter eye drops frequently, it may be time to ask your optometrist about chronic dry eyes and what to do about it.
Dr. Phillip Wu and his team at Suburban Eyes Clinic in Evanston, Illinois, have the training and experience needed to meet all your eye-related needs. Dr. Wu can perform an examination, listen to your description of the symptoms you experience, and determine the cause of your dry eyes. With an accurate diagnosis, he can recommend the best treatment to relieve the condition.
More about chronic dry eyes
Chronic dry eyes are not uncommon, as an estimated nearly 5 million Americans suffer from the condition. Aside from the trademark dryness, other symptoms can include:
- Red, inflamed, itchy eyes
- Excessive tears
- Discomfort wearing contact lenses
- Sensitivity to light
- Feeling as if there is dirt or debris in your eyes
- Mucus strings around your eyes
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms on a recurring basis, you may have chronic dry eyes. Part of what Dr. Wu will help you determine is what is causing the condition and how to remove or mitigate any contributing factors. He can then prescribe treatment to restore healthy eyes.
Causes of chronic dry eyes
Many factors, ranging from health issues to environmental irritants, can cause you to develop chronic dry eyes. These issues affect your eyes and their ability to produce enough high-quality tears for adequate protection and function. Among the most common factors are:
- Certain diseases
- Hormonal changes
- Some medications
- Exposure to dry or windy environments
- Long-term contact lens use
- Complications from eye procedures
Most cases of chronic dry eyes are caused by some combination of factors that impact your corneas, tear ducts, and oil glands.
Treatments for chronic dry eyes
Dr. Wu will discuss your lifestyle and environment as well as perform an examination to help determine the cause of your dry eyes. Depending on the cause, he can then prescribe an adequate treatment to help you manage the condition. Here are some of the most common treatments he may recommend:
Dr. Wu may ask about your lifestyle and daily habits to determine if there are adjustments that can help alleviate your dry eyes. Staring at screens all day can cause dry eyes and eye strain. Excessive exposure to wind or dust can cause eye problems. He may recommend some changes or eye-protection measures to help relieve your dry eyes.
Many people find some relief from chronic dry eyes by making dietary changes. Studies have shown a connection between eye health and consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. Dr. Wu may recommend eating more fish, which contains omega-3 fatty acids, or taking over-the-counter supplements.
Dr Wu may also recommend eye drops. Many over-the-counter drops are sufficient to flush debris from your eyes and restore normal levels of moisture. He can also prescribe eye drops with steroids if necessary when excessive inflammation or itching are a problem.
When these or other conservative treatments for dry eyes do not bring relief, Dr. Wu may prescribe medications to increase tear production or reduce inflammation. Other options are also available, which Dr. Wu will discuss with you if warranted.
Chronic dry eyes are uncomfortable and can seriously interfere with life and work, so getting help is essential for your eye health and quality of life. Treatments are available to bring relief and improved eye health from Suburban Eyes Clinic in Evanston. Call or schedule an appointment online with Dr. Wu and get the prompt, professional treatment you deserve.