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What are the symptoms of Dry Eye Disease?
Determining whether or not we need to visit a medical professional is something that many of us struggle with. One reason is that we don’t want to waste anyone’s time. Another is that we simply struggle to fit any more appointments into our already packed schedules. We would rather carry on until we simply can’t get by any longer than try and squeeze a visit to our doctor, dentist or optometrist into our diary. However, by not getting professional advice when we need it, we would be suffering unnecessarily, and in some instances, could potentially cause further damage to our body. In the case of our eyesight, which for the majority of us is the sense that we rely on the most, postponing treatment could risk our long-term vision.
One ocular health problem that is very common but often overlooked or ignored is known as dry eye disease. Although dry eye disease isn’t dangerous, it can make your day to day life much more difficult than it needs to be. This is because there are simple, straightforward treatments available that can alleviate your symptoms.
What is dry eye disease?
Dry eye disease is an ocular condition that occurs when our eyes don’t have enough natural lubrication. Moisture in our eyes is essential for them to remain healthy and for us to be able to look around easily and focus in on the objects that we want to see. If our eyes aren’t sufficiently lubricated, it can make them feel sore and uncomfortable, and make using our eyes more difficult.
There are numerous possible causes of dry eyes disease. In many cases it is caused by a natural degeneration of the glands that produce tear film for our eyes. However, it can also occur as a side effect of certain medications or having certain medical conditions, or because we spend too long looking at screens and not blinking enough.
Symptoms of dry eye disease
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most commonly reported symptom of dry eye disease is the one from which the condition gets its name – eyes that feel dry. This sensation can make it seem difficult to move your eyes around easily and you may catch yourself blinking repeatedly or rubbing your eyes in a bid to ‘loosen’ them up so that you can use them more easily. However, this isn’t the only indicator of the condition. There is also an array of other symptoms that you could experience, which include the following:
Pain in the eyes that may feel like stinging, scratching or burning
Sensitivity to light, particularly bright light
Watery eyes, which is how the body responds to dry eye irritation
A feeling as though you have something lodged in your eye
Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
Struggling to put contact lenses in or take them out
Difficulty driving at night
Eyes that feel tired and struggle to focus
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it is important that you seek the support of your eye doctor. They can be signs of a range of ocular health problems, including dry eyes. Your eye doctor will be able to determine the cause of your symptoms and ensure that you get the treatment that you need to alleviate your symptoms.
If you think you may have dry eye disease, or if you have any other concerns about your ocular health, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experienced and reassuring optometry team. We are based in the Apollo Health and Wellness Centre, Rosedale, AUK. Feel free to pop in and see us or call us on 09-884-0034.