Q: How do I know if I have Dry Eye?
A: Dry eye syndrome can only be diagnosed by an eye doctor. We take your symptoms into account, including the eyes feeling dry, burning, itchy or irritated. Watery eyes and blurry vision are also common because the tears, which protect the outermost surface of the eye, can be unstable.
Q: If someone has overly teary eyes, that isn't Dry Eye, is it?
A: Ironically, yes, watery eyes can be a symptom of dry eye syndrome. The eyes try to overcompensate for the lack of good quality tears by producing reflex tears, which are usually meant to help flush out foreign bodies or function in a good "cry", and tend to spill out over the eyelids.
Q: I have a friend whose eyes are frequently overly watery. That isn't Dry Eye, is it?
A: Actually, the two biggest causes of watery eyes are allergies (usually accompanied by itching) and dry eye. There are two kinds of tears: basal and reflex tears. If you don't have enough good quality basal tears to keep the eye moist, the reflex tears (which are the crying/cutting onion tears) kick in and then you have too many tears streaming down your face! Think of it as your eyes turning on the taps to water themselves.
Q: Is Dry Eye more severe in the winter than in the warmer spring and summer months?
A: It's unclear. Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is a chronic multi-factorial disease process in which signs and symptoms don't always correlate with one another. Some patient may be more sensitive in certain seasons than others, depending on the humidity level, wind factor, working environment, and other variables. Screening for this common and chronic condition is crucial to maintaining a healthy and stable tear film, no matter the season, and should not be based on symptoms alone.
Q: How do I know if I have dry eyes, or my eyes are just tired?
A: The symptoms of dry eye syndrome can include tearing, burning, and a feeling of scratching in your eye, in addition to feeling that your eyes are dry. Dry eyes can be caused by some medications, certain diseases, allergies, hormones, and aging, as well as other factors. There are various treatments for dry eyes, depending on the severity, and the underlying cause. Dry eye syndrome can be very uncomfortable, however there are treatments available that provide symptom relief almost immediately.
Q: What eye drops do you recommend for dry eye syndrome?
A: There are 2 prescription eyedrops on the market right now, Restasis and Xiidra. Both eyedrops reduce inflammation. Restasis takes longer for patients to notice symptom abatement, while Xiidra tends to provide relief faster. After a thorough eye exam, focusing on your dry eye symptoms, our eye doctor will be able to determine which eye drop would be best for your eye condition.
Q: What can I do to prevent dry eyes?
A: Dry eyes are caused by many factors. If you know you have dry eyes, try to pay attention to what makes them feel better or worse. For example, do not blow your hair dryer directly towards your eyes. Add moisture to the air with a humidifier. Use eye protection outdoors like wrap around sunglasses or other protective eyewear. Be mindful of changes in your environment such as traveling. Position your computer screen below eye level. Stop smoking and avoid smoky areas. Supplement with Omega 3 and use lubricating eye drops.
Q: If my eyes water how can I have dry eyes?
A: There are two basic types of tears; lubricating tears and reflex tears. Lubricating tears are the “normal tears” that help to properly lubricate our eyes so they feel comfortable and stay healthy. Reflex tears occur in response to eye irritation or discomfort. If someone gets poked in the eye, or a speck flies in, it will hurt and the eye will water because of the reflex tear response. If we’re outside on a cold windy day, the cold air has a drying effect on our normal tear film, causing evaporation, and the eye’s defense mechanism kicks, triggering reflex tears. There are countless reasons why the eye could be watering, and dry eyes could be one of them. If your eyes water, be sure to visit your eye doctor to have your eyes examined, so we can help get your eyes feeling better.