If you have ever suffered from dry eyes, you know it. It’s hard to forget that scratchy, irritated feeling if you experience it just once, not to mention if it’s an issue you have to deal with on a regular basis. If you are a dry eye sufferer, you are far from alone; Dr. Matthew Gardiner, an experienced ophthalmologist with the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, states, “I’d say at least a quarter of my patients have some degree of complaint about dryness.” What is at the root of this problem and what can be done to bring sufferers some relief?
My Eyes Don’t Cry No More
We old-timers might remember singing along with Stevie Wonder, “My eyes don’t cry no more…” Could it be that Stevie suffered from dry eye too? Scientists have discovered that as we age our eye glands just don’t produce the tears or oil that they used to, resulting in dry eye syndrome. Besides aging, dry eye syndrome could also be caused by:
- Eye surgery
- Contact lens use
- Environmental factors such as dust and other allergens
- Not blinking enough
- Underlying health issues such as diabetes or thyroid problems
Dr. Gardiner, mentioned earlier, states he sees many cases of dry eye due to not blinking frequently enough in heavy users of technology. This is called Computer Vision Syndrome and can also include symptoms such as blurry or double vision.
What’s a Guy to do?
Treatment for dry eye syndrome doesn’t have to be complicated. For people whose eyes make enough tears but still suffer from dry eye Dr. Gardiner recommends:
- Warm compresses
- Gentle eye massage
For those whose eyes don’t produce enough tears Dr. Gardiner suggests:
- Over-the-counter artificial tears
- Prescription medication such as Restasis
- A quick medical procedure that blocks tear drainage
Some research has even suggested caffeine can help dry eyes. The truth is, everyone’s eyes are different and may respond better to a combination of the above-discussed treatments. In any case, it’s always better to consult with your ophthalmologist when deciding on how best to treat your dry eyes.