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Why Do My Eyes Feel So Dry?

Are your eyes chronically irritated? Do you frequently experience a gritty feeling, itchiness, redness, and burning in your eyes? Are your eyes often watering, but you feel no relief?  You may be suffering with the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome. Dry Eye Syndrome or Disease (DES) occurs when your tears do not provide adequate lubrication affecting your eye health and your overall ability to enjoy life. DES is one of the most common diagnosed eye conditions, but your optometrists can offer a variety of practices and treatments to ease your symptoms. Understanding DES, its causes, and treatments is key to relieving these annoying manifestations, maintaining good eye health, and seeing the world clearly. 

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Don’t Suffer From Dry Eyes

It is easy to dismiss the symptoms of dry eyes as irritating and inconvenient and attempt to move through life just dealing with the bother. But Dry Eye Syndrome is a diagnosable and treatable condition. Did you know that DES is one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions in Calgary? Blink Eyewear wants all of our patients to understand Dry Eye Syndrome. And the diagnosis is often simple, requiring just a routine comprehensive eye exam. Taking care of your vision includes being aware of the most common symptoms, the causes, the treatments available, and the lifestyle habits that can keep your eyes healthy and feeling good. 


Tears: Nature’s Eye Protection

Tears are not just indications of sadness and joy. A healthy eye is full of tears all the time. Our tears are a mixture of:

  • Water (provides moisture)
  • Oils (provide lubrication)
  • Mucus (to help spread tears)
  • Antibodies & Proteins (to keep eyes infection free)

A deficit or imbalance of these components may leave you with insufficient lubrication. And a lack of one component can actually prompt your eye to produce too many tears still causing Dry Eye symptoms because your tears are not effectively moisturizing and cleansing your eye.

Symptoms of Dry Eyes

Some patients experience dry eyes only occasionally or temporarily; some experience frequent and chronic dry eyes. You may experience one or all of these symptoms:

  • Soreness and fatigue
  • Itchiness 
  • Stinging or burning
  • A feeling of sand, grit, or other foreign body in your eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Redness
  • Runny, watery eyes


Causes Of Dry Eyes

Dry Eyes can occur occasionally due to environmental conditions like air conditioning or heating, low humidity, or strong winds. But there are several other causes of Dry Eye Syndrome too:

  • The natural aging process, particularly menopause and the related hormone fluctuations
  • Side effects of certain drugs like antidepressants, blood pressure medications, birth control pills, and antihistamines
  • Contact lens wear
  • Health conditions like Sjogren’s Syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Extended computer or screen use
  • Vitamin Deficiency
  • Allergies

Diagnosing Dry Eyes

Your optometrist can often diagnose Dry Eye Syndrome based on your symptoms alone or through a comprehensive eye exam. Or sometimes your doctor may need to measure the tears in your eyes by placing a small strip of paper at the edge of your eye. This is called a Schirmer test. Once your optometrist has assessed your overall eye health and the amount and quality of your tears, they can recommend a treatment plan to alleviate your Dry Eye symptoms.

Treatments for Dry Eyes

The cause of your dry eyes might be environment or lifestyle conditions that are unavoidable. Or your dry eyes may be due to a health condition that is untreatable, but the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome can usually be managed successfully. Your optometrist may recommend:

  • Eye Drop or Ointment: Lubricating eye drops, or artificial tears can help relieve dryness and the feeling of debris in your eye. An ointment may do the same but in a thicker, longer-lasting application.
  • Steroids: Steroid eye drops are anti-inflammatory and can reduce swelling in the eye.
  • Punctal Plugs: These are tiny inserts placed inside the lower eyelid that release lubrication throughout the day.
  • Nutritional Supplements: Vitamin A and Omega-3 fatty acids may help improve dry eyes.
  • Antibiotics: If your symptoms of Dry Eye are caused by an underlying eye condition, antibiotics may be required.
  • Warm Compresses or Blocked Gland Procedures: If the reason for your dry eyes is blocked glands, your optometrist may recommend warm compresses or a simple procedure to clear the blockages.
  • Alternate Contact Lenses: A different style or brand of contact lenses may be helpful to relieve your dry eyes.
  • Lifestyle Practices: There are certain changes you can make in your lifestyle that could ease the symptoms of dry eyes like the use of a humidifier, staying well-hydrated, avoiding windy, dusty conditions, not smoking, resting your eyes frequently during screen time, and wearing wraparound sunglasses.
  • REVITAL-EYES Treatment: a non-invasive light therapy treatment using cutting-edge IPL and radio-frequency technologies with long-lasting dry eye relief. (find out more here)

No More Dry Eyes

You do not need to ignore your symptoms or suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome. There are effective and lasting treatments available. We often forget about the importance of healthy eyes and great sight until faced with persistent and irritating symptoms that affect our vision and our enjoyment of life. If you are experiencing the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome or have any questions or concerns about your overall eye health, our team of Eye Doctors at Blink Eyewear can help. 

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FAQs


Q: Is it bad to rub my eyes?
A: Yes, if you feel any symptoms of Dry Eyes avoid touching your eyes at all. Instead, try blinking rapidly to naturally lubricate your eyes. 

Q: Can I get Lasik surgery if I have Dry Eye Syndrome?
A: Dry Eye Syndrome may disqualify you from qualifying for Lasik because you could be at an increased risk for poor healing. It is best to resolve your Dry Eye Syndrome before considering surgery. Our team can help you with a treatment plan for DES so you can move forward with laser surgery.  Book an appointment with Blink Eyewear or call our office at 403-516-2292.  

Q: Can I wear contact lenses if I have DES? 
A: You absolutely can, but there are some special considerations for contact lens wearers with Dry Eye Syndrome. You can read more here. (link to blog 4 Contact Lenses For Dry Eyes)


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