Redness, stinging or itchiness, grittiness, blurry vision — these are the common symptoms of dry eyes. Many people experience and will experience dry eyes at some point in their lives. For most, it will be temporary discomfort. For others, it may come back over and over again.
What is causing your dry eyes and how can you treat it? Find out below.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
MGD, or meibomian gland dysfunction, is a condition where the glands in your eyelids do not work at it should. When you have MGD, either the amount or quality of the oil produced by the glands in your eyelid changes. The oil you naturally produce prevents the moisture on the surface of your eyeballs to evaporate too quickly.
Age is one of the risk factors for MGD. However, a person’s race also seems to play a major role. According to experts, Asians are up to three times more likely to develop the condition compared to Europeans.
Your doctor can determine if you have MGD by performing certain tests to determine the quality and quantity of the secretions of the glands in your eyelids. Once diagnosed, go to a nearby MGD treatment center.
Autoimmune diseases like diabetes, lupus, arthritis, and Sjögren’s syndrome may be causing your dry eyes. When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system goes overboard and attacks your body, including your tear glands. As a result, your tear glands cannot produce enough tears to lubricate your eyes.
If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, talk to your doctor about your dry eyes. If you have diabetes, treatment may include lifestyle and dietary changes to lower your blood sugar levels. For Sjögren’s syndrome and other autoimmune diseases, your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter eyedrops.
Vitamin A Deficiency
Vitamin A is crucial for maintaining eye health. You can get your daily dose of vitamin A by adding carrots, sweet potato, tomato, watermelon, spinach, eggs, whole milk, butter, meat, and saltwater fish into your diet.
Your doctor can diagnose you with vitamin A deficiency through an eye exam or a blood test. For treatment, they may recommend that you take supplements.
Excessive Computer Use
Often, dry eyes may not be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. It happens to people whose work includes staring at a computer screen for several hours a day.
Computer use can cause dry eyes because you tend to blink less often when you are staring at a screen. As a result, the moisture on the surface of your eyes evaporates too quickly.
This problem can be resolved by taking little breaks throughout the day. After an hour of work, close your eyes for a few minutes or blink your eyes rapidly for several seconds. This allows your eyelids to lubricate your eyes.
Over-the-counter eye drops will provide you with quick relief.
Dry eye is a condition that is most common among older adults aged 50 and above. As you grow older, the production of moisture in your eyes significantly declines. As a result, you get dry eyes more often.
There is no remedy to dry eyes caused by aging. However, you may use over-the-counter eye drops to relieve the unpleasant sensation as needed.
If dry eyes persist, or if it has started to prevent you from doing your day-to-day tasks, consult a doctor. They will find the root of the problem and provide treatment.