6 SIGNS OF DRY EYES
(1) Of the 6 signs of dry eyes, burning and stinging are the most frequently reported symptoms. Tears form a complex gel layer on the front of the eyes. This gel layer is only stable for a brief period of time before it starts to break down. Every time you blink you reestablish the integrity of this gel layer. Pepper spray, like cut onions, breaks down the tear layer. Since the tissue under the tear film has one of the highest concentrations of nerves found in our bodies; it really, really hurts when the tear film stops providing a moist, cushioned layer over the cornea.
(2) While it goes against common sense for dry eyes to water, it is a symptom I hear very often in our dry eye practice. Once the tear layer breaks down, the pain and discomfort outlined above causes reflexive tearing. Unlike the normal baseline level of tears, this is an effort by our body to try and correct the dry eye condition. Unfortunately, as happened to me last week, it can occur while driving down the highway at 75mph. This can make dry eye syndrome a life threatening event if it is left untreated.
(3) Blurred vision is also a recurring theme we hear. Normally the episode of blurring is very brief lasting for a few minutes, but it can last for longer periods of time. Usually the blurriness comes with a vague type of symptomology with complaints of trouble focusing on the computer, cell phone, or driving at night. While these eye symptoms can all be due to eyeglass or contact lenses that require a stronger prescription, when they come and go in short intervals, it may be due to dry eye syndrome. Sometimes it can be so severe that it interferes with achievement at school or work.
(4) Contact lens intolerance is another vague type of complaint that effects about two out of three patients ultimately diagnosed with dry eye syndrome. Dry eye patients typically describe an inabilty to wear their lenses all day long, and frequnetly there is a nagging feeling like sand or grit in the eyes. They sometime complain of “sore eyes” or “eyes aching all the time”. The discomfort is not severe and is more like a ongoing mild or moderate irritation, bothersome due to the peristant nature.
(5) It is not uncommon to have a dry eye patient present at our office motivated by comments from well meaning family or co-workers concerned about their eyes being red all of the time. (and probably a little unspoken worry about what might be caught from them). The redness, like most other symptoms, is typically worse as the day progresses.
(6) Some people notice their eye discomfort is associated with specific locales or activities. Through questioning strategies, we usually uncover a dry eye issue that is aggrevated by environmental or ergonomic factors. Changes in your environment that seem to make burning, red eyes feel worse later in the day can be due to low humidity, fans, and even the screen placement of your computer.
Other Issues That May Trigger Dry Eye Syndrome
One More Reason Eyes Feel Dry All The Time (There goes the 6 Signs of Dry Eyes)
IBlepharitis is probably the most misdiagnosed cause for dry eyes today. Blepharitis is a low grade staph infection along the glands at the base of the eyelashes that results in deposit of small flakes accumulating among the lashes. Occasionally a patient will notice these flakes when they first awaken in the morning. This condition causes toxins to be released into the tear layer, disrupting the aqueous surface and thus creating a different type of Dry Eye Syndrome. Our treatment protocol is different from the methods we use when the dryness issue is caused by a lack of tears. This is the one form of dry eye disease that is truly “cureable”.
Dry Eyes May Also Be A Warning Sign For Diabetes! Schedule s Dry Eye Evaluation Appointment if You Are Experiencing Any of The Above Symptoms. Early Treatment Prevents Irreversible Damage. We Can’t Replace Eyes Quite Yet!