What Are Symptoms Of Dry Eye Disease?
In most cases, dry eye happens with both eyes, not just one, and it can occur because of the environment, internal issues, response to medications, aging, allergies, and genetic issues. So your symptoms may be a clue on how you should respond, but if you make the changes you believe will make a positive difference and dry eye continues, it’s time to make an appointment with an eye specialist!
Common symptoms of dry eye
You may experience more than one of these symptoms and probably will have a few of them. If you have them all, you should see a physician sooner rather than later, as keeping your eyes in good condition is highly desirable for everyone. Look out for:
- Red, scratchy, painful or burning eyes, which could also include the eyelids
- Eyes that are sensitive to light
- Feeling like something is in your eyes, but you don’t find anything
- Contact lenses hurt more or cause other problems – when you usually do fine with them
- A buildup of mucus around or in your eyes. Sometimes the mucus is stringy, other times it’s in chunks
- Nighttime driving becoming more difficult, usually, because the glare hurts your eyes more
- Tired eyes or blurry vision
- Eyes constantly watering or leaking out of the corners in a near constant stream
Some situations or locations may aggravate or cause temporary dry eye. These might include travel on airplanes (the recirculation of air can dry your eyes) and spending hours in either a heated or air-conditioned room (if it is in your home, get humidifiers for the rooms you are in most of the time). It could also be caused by any activity where the wind is rushing at you, like riding a bike or driving in an open convertible, or by too much time spent staring at a computer screen!
Many of the symptoms may be changed by simple lifestyle adjustments as mentioned in the above paragraph. But if they persist, the safest bet is to make an appointment with a doctor or specialist – like an optometrist. Optometrists are specialized in treating conditions of the eye and visual system, especially dry eyes.
If the dry eye is caused by medicines you are currently taking or an underlying medical condition, your GP would be the best place to find out if you can discontinue a systemic medication. If you believe it might be eye strain from something like too much computer time or maybe you need a new set of glasses because you are overworking your eyes, then an optometrist would be an appropriate choice! Have you been to an optometrist for dry eyes? We treat patients daily who have this issue, and we’re happy to help you as well. Head on over to our Dry Eye Syndrome Support Community!
Dr. Jenna Zigler