What Is Chronic Dry Eye Syndrome & How Do You Know You Have It?
We do so much with our eyes. We work, we play, we adore—but so much of what we do with our eyes we take for granted. Eye care means not ignoring dry, itchy, rough eyes or sporadic blurry vision. It means taking care of your eyes, eating right and seeing your eye doctor regularly.
Ever wonder why your eyes are so dry, itchy, teary, gritty, or painful?
It can start with a feeling that your eyes are irritated or itchy or maybe it feels like something is in your eyes but when you look, nothing is there.
You could have Chronic Dry Eye, also called Dry Eye Syndrome or Dry Eye Disease. The signs of Chronic Dry Eye are different for each person, but some of the most common are:
- Scratchy or Itchy Eyes
- Intermittent blurry vision
- Irritated or Painful Eyes
- Grittiness like you have sand or something in your eyes
- Redness or a Burning feeling in your eyes
- Watery Eyes
- Light Sensitivity
- Eye Tension or Fatigue
- Discomfort Wearing Contact Lenses
These symptoms may come and go but never seem to go away completely. It’s very important for your long term eye health that you find out what is really happening to your eyes and get an accurate diagnosis.
Guessing vs. Knowing
You may not be aware, but Chronic Dry Eye is one of the most common eye problems today. At least 16 million Americans have dry eyes, however, estimates differ greatly, with some experts saying that as many as 90% of computer users experience dry eyes on a regular basis.
Here’s What The Experts Say:
Dr. Dirk Massie and his team sees patients from all over the St. Louis area, with many of his patients initially assuming that other issues are responsible for their symptoms
“You may think you need to get new glasses or change your contact lenses, or you think you have an allergy or an infection inside your eye. But you may really have Dry Eye Disease and we can help you feel better.” He notes that many patients think that living with these symptoms is “just the way it is”, thinking that there is nothing that can be done.
Elements that Bring About and Worsen Dry Eye Syndrome
What are the different triggers and risk factors of Chronic Dry Eye
Are you spending long periods of time:
- Reading books
- Looking at your smartphone
- Watching TV
- On the Computer
- Over 50
- Female: using birth control pills, during pregnancy, or menopause.
- Have Allergies
- On medication
- Stress & Inflammation
An important note about digital device-induced dry eye symptoms: looking at the screen of your computer, phone or tablet for long periods of time can create eye stress. We tend to stare at the screen and stop blinking at a normal rate. This leads your immune system to respond with inflammation that stresses your eyes even more—creating a never-ending cycle. Furthermore, computer usage can lead to digital eye strain which is also linked to many of the symptoms listed above. In addition, research shows that digital device users not only blink less frequently, they also blink less fully. All of these elements contribute to a huge increase in dry eye symptoms for people who are regular users of a computer, cell phones, and tablets.
Be aware of these signs because it is your body trying to tell you that something needs to be addressed. Talk to our eye doctor at the St. Louis Dry Eye Center and find out for sure what is really going on with your eyes. If you do have Chronic Dry Eye disease, know that it is a condition that only gets worse over time and may lead to corneal scarring which can permanently affect vision. Luckily there has never been a better time for dry eye sufferers, the latest technology allows our eye doctor to thoroughly assess the causes of your dry eye symptoms and provide effective solutions such as Lipiflow, Blephex, Xiidra, and Scleral lenses to combat and eradicate your discomfort.