In 2005, the Sjögren’s Foundation asked Congress to officially declare July “Dry Eye Awareness Month” to help increase dry eye awareness while also educating people about the symptoms and treatment options for dry eye. Also, Prevent Blindness declared July as Dry Eye Awareness Month.
We want to join the foundations to bring awareness about dry eye symptoms, and it’s possible causes. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), nearly 16 million Americans have dry eyes. Dry eye condition occurs when there is not enough tear film produced, the tear film is not draining properly from the eye, or the tear film is not the quality needed to maintain the eye’s health.
Risk Factors For Dry Eye
Dry eye is relatively common, and there are many risk factors for dry eye, including:
- Inflammation of the eyelids
- Being 50 years and older
- Medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain other autoimmune diseases
- Women who are pregnant, on certain types of birth control, hormone replacement therapy, or experiencing menopause are likely to have dry eye
- Environmental conditions, such as allergies or a dry climate
- Certain medications
What Are Dry Eye Symptoms?
Patients with dry eye complain of:
- Gritty, sandy feeling
- Extreme sensitivity, especially to cigarette smoke
- It feels like particles are in the eye
- Redness and inflammation
- Transient blurry vision
- Stringy mucus
- Increased sensitivity to light
If you have these symptoms, you may have dry eye, but other conditions may also cause them. A thorough evaluation by your eye doctor is needed to determine the exact cause of these symptoms.
How Can I Prevent Dry Eye?
There are several ways to manage dry eye symptoms.
Stay Hydrated – Hydration is vital! Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated for your overall health, but it is excellent for your eyes.
Protect Your Eyes – Protecting your eyes from the wind and dust is essential while you are outside enjoying a bike ride, hike, or playing a game of golf. Also, while using a computer or digital device, don’t forget to BLINK!
Sleep – Get plenty of sleep!
How is Dry Eye Treated?
There are many options for the treatment of dry eye. The dry eye condition is often misdiagnosed and can cause damage to the front of the eye. If you think you may have dry eye, call us TODAY to schedule an appointment to determine what treatment option is best for you.
National Eye Institute