October 01, 2020

Dry eyes

Steps to relief

You're seeing red, and it's not because you're mad. Your eyes are irritated because you've been battling dry eyes for weeks. The stinging, burning, gritty sensation in your eyes just won't go away.

Other signs and symptoms of dry eyes include sensitivity to light, the sensation of having something in your eyes and blurry vision. Surprisingly, you may also experience watery eyes, which is the body's natural response to the irritation of dry eyes.

Treatment starts with low-cost, low-risk solutions. Your primary care doctor or, if needed, an eye care specialist such as an ophthalmologist or optometrist can guide you through your options. It's important to know that dry eyes generally do not lead to permanent vision loss.

When tears aren't enough

The front surface of your eyes is covered in tears. This is known as the tear film and is made up of three layers: oil, water and mucus. This mixture covers your eyes when you blink, keeping your vision clear and helping protect your eyes from foreign substances, irritation and infection. It needs to be in the right proportion to keep the tear film stable on the eye. Any change in the quantity or quality of the mixture can lead to inadequate lubrication for the eyes, resulting in dry eye symptoms. This may occur due to one or both of the following problems:

  • Insufficient tear production — Your eyes may not produce enough tears due to factors such as aging, certain medical conditions and medications, or tear gland damage...