Did you know that dry eye can be a symptom of another medical condition? The dry eye does not develop on its own. In fact, it’s often a secondary result of some underlying cause. A dry eye is an ocular condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tears or the tears lose their natural moisture faster than usual. It can be triggered by a number of factors, but fortunately, they are all easily treatable. If you are frequently experiencing dry eyes, try these 10 tips and tricks to help combat them:
Why Are My Eyes Dry When I Wake Up?
The cornea and eyelids provide protection from outside elements such as dust, dirt, and wind. When these are blocked, the eyes become more susceptible to dryness. The rate at which tear production occurs and the percentage of the tear film that is water are important factors in measuring dry eyes. Dry eyes are caused by a reduction in tear production, tear evaporation or a combination of the two. A reduction in tear production can be triggered by a number of factors, including:
As we get older, our tear production rate is reduced, which can increase the risk of dry eyes.
Diseases like diabetes, thyroid disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus, and sarcoidosis may be to blame.
Certain prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications may have an impact on tear production and can also lead to dry eyes.
Dry air, wind, low humidity, high altitudes, and UV exposure can all lead to dry eyes.
Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and women going through menopause may experience changes in tear production, which can lead to dry eyes.
What Are The Signs That You Have Dry Eyes?
Burning, stinging, or pain in your eyes can be a symptom of dry eyes. The pain may intensify as the day progresses and may also be accompanied by swelling in the eyes.
If you notice that you’re blinking excessively during the daytime, it could be a sign of dry eyes. This symptom is often due to an irritation of the cornea from environmental elements like wind, dust, or smoke that cause excessive drying of the eye and make it more susceptible to further damage.
You may experience blurred vision if your tear film breaks down and disrupts your ability to see clearly with sharp focus.
As tears begin to evaporate faster than they are produced, causes watery eyes that can lead to a stinging sensation in the corner of an eye or excessive watering during both day and night time (the latter being associated with Sjogren’s syndrome).
A gritty feeling in your eye can mean that you have small particles stuck within your tear film or whatever liquid layer exists between your cornea (the top layer of your eye) and eyelid that allows for smooth movement when opening and closing your eyelids.
If you’re experiencing the symptoms above AND feel like there is a lack of moisture within your tears OR note that your contact lenses feel “dry” on initial placement on your eyes, then you may have dry eyes.
Causes Of Dry Eyes
1. Environmental Conditions
Wind, UV light from the sun, low humidity and air conditioning can all lead to dry eyes.
Certain drugs like steroids, antihistamines for allergies and colds, antidepressants and blood pressure medications may lead to problems with your tear film and/or dry eyes.
3. Hormonal Conditions
Hormonal changes like those that occur with menopause or pregnancy affect your tear production and may lead to dry eyes.
4. Thyroid Issues
Thyroid issues that cause excessive production of the hormone progesterone can lead to temporary problems with tear production as well as other symptoms including fatigue and depression.
5. Diseases & Conditions
Diseases such as diabetes, lupus, arthritis and cancer can all cause a disruption in your natural tear production causing you eye discomfort or “dry eye” symptoms .
6 . Allergies
Dry eyes are one of the many signs of seasonal allergies…allergies will not be able to be treated unless they are diagnosed first! Here I am part way through my procedure at Dr Pardes office during my consultation visit (same as before). You can see that some lashes were lifted but not all: it is up to you how many you want done each time…you can choose a “light” or “full” look depending upon what you want: I chose a milder look because I still wanted my natural lashes (and they give me compliments like they are real!).
Natural Home Remedies For Dry Eyes
- Wash your pillow cases and sheets once a week in hot water. This will kill any bacteria that might be causing irritation within your eyes.
- Avoid using your computer/laptop right before you sleep as the bright light emitted is a major cause of dry eye problems.
- During allergy season, use your air conditioner to decrease the amount of pollen in the air that you breathe in and out. Moreover, get an air purifier so that you can get rid of pollen inside your home as well as pollution from outside sources .
- Investing in a special pillow case specifically for allergies is also helpful ( I have one too but it doesn’t look like this…I’m just showing you what they look like).
- Drink more water daily if possible – dehydration is associated with dry eyes especially if due to other causes…so drink up! You will have less urgency to blink and thus, less dry eye symptoms !
- Take an over-the- counter (OTC) antihistamine daily: antihistamines help dry eyes by preventing the production of histamine, therefore reducing the risk of allergic reactions which can cause dryness on top of other symptoms (including pain). Studies show that they reduce allergic reactions by 50%! Ask your doctor if any are safe for you although Allegra, Zyrtec and Claritin are usually regarded as safe unless otherwise noted .
- Invest in a humidifier for your home or room – The best time to use one is before you go to bed . Humidifiers will increase the quality of air in your home by adding moisture. This moist air can be a valuable remedy for dry eyes and other symptoms of allergies.
- Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables – they are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that will help fight damage related to free radicals which can aggravate allergies, especially dry eyes!
- If you do not already use them, invest in a pair of glasses with UV protection as eye dryness can be aggravated due to exposure to excessive sunlight that leads to sunburns/snow blindness (for example).
- Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes when they are itchy: try not to touch them at all (that is easier said than done). Our hands carry bacteria from the outside world (including our nose since bacteria from there gets into our bloodstream) which may cause infections when we rub our eyes with dirty hands.
Keep in mind that the above remedies are best used for mild dry eyes. If your condition is more severe, you should consult a doctor. If left untreated, dry eyes can lead to other ocular issues. Fortunately, they can be easily prevented with the help of natural home remedies. With a few lifestyle changes, you can reduce your risk of developing dry eyes and their symptoms.