If you’re over the age of 18, you’ve probably experienced dry eyes at least once in your life.
If the problem returns or becomes chronic, it may be time to seek professional help.
Dr. Rick Graebe, of the Family Eye Care Center in Versailles, offers a Dry Eye Clinic to help people suffering from chronic or intermittent dry eyes, whether from allergies or other causes.
As Dr. Graebe points out, our eyes produce two types of tears from two separate glands.
The first are emotional tears – tears when we cry.
The second kind is the sort of tears we rarely notice, the tears that lubricate our eye every time we blink.
Chronic dry eyes result when the production of this second type of tears decreases.
Why do your eyes quit producing enough tears?
One of the most common causes in women is the hormone changes related to menopause and peri-menopause.
Other causes include aging, heavy computer use and eye strain.
Dry eyes can also be caused by wind, poor air quality, the use of allergy medicines and some prescription medicines.
Having oily skin, which can clog tear glands, can also contribute to low tear production.
At Dr. Graebe’s Dry Eye Clinic, eye problems can be diagnosed and the cause of the problem determined.
For some patients, a “lash shampoo” can help resolve the dry eyes by clearing tear ducts and killing bacteria.
Dr. Graebe actually recommends lash shampoos for routine eye maintenance.
“It’s like a dentist telling you to brush your teeth,” he said.
He particularly recommends it for women who wear eye make-up.
In some cases, clogged tear ducts need more than just a good cleaning. Dr. Graebe’s clinic can perform procedures to open them up.
Other treatments include anti-inflammatory therapies such as Restatis and topical steroids.
Glasses, especially those with side shields, and contact lenses can also help resolve eye dryness.
If you find your eyes are dry after extended computer use, try lowering the height of your screen so your eyes are not open as wide. Also, remember to take frequent breaks.
Reminding yourself to blink more often can also help.
It is important to seek help for dry eyes before they become a chronic problem.