Suffering from dry, tired eyes is uncomfortable and can prohibit you from being able to go about your daily life. Dry eyes can cause blurred vision, redness, itchiness, and an overall gritty sensation in the eye. In general, the lack of tear production is what causes dry eye because tears act as a lubricant. Here are four potential causes for dry eyes and lack of tears, along with treatment options.
As you age, tear production typically starts to decrease. The older you are the more likely you are to suffer from dry eyes. Part of the cause is due to illnesses that appear in the elderly that are known to encourage the development of dry eye. In women, menopause is another factor that can cause dry eyes due to hormonal changes. All in all, the more you age the severity of symptoms increases.
Certain medications can be the culprit for dry eyes. Medications including antihistamines, antidepressants, birth control, and acne medication all are known to cause this side effect. Ask your doctor if switching brands or medication is an option if your medication causes severe dry eye.
Some diseases can affect your body’s ability to produce tears. Common diseases known to cause dry eye are Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and collagen vascular diseases. Thyroid disorders and a vitamin A deficiency can also slow down tear production.
Tear Gland Inflammation
If your tear gland is inflamed or infected, this can block the tear duct and therefore stops tears from moisturizing your eye. Inflammation or infection usually occurs in adults who have a blocked tear duct which allows bacteria to build up and grow. Many infants are born with narrow or blocked tear ducts, however, in most cases, the issue resolves after age one.
Eye drops or artificial tears are effective options for those who only have milder cases of dry eye. Eye drops can be used throughout the day or whenever there are any noticeable symptoms. Ask your eye doctor for the best over the counter brand to use. However, it is best to keep in mind that eye drops cannot cure any underlying condition or factor for dry eyes.
Unblocking Oil Glands
LipiFlow thermal pulsation treatment works to unblock your glands that may be blocked by oil. The LipiFlow is a device in the shape of an eyecup and is placed over the eye. The device gives a type of gentle massage, which in turn helps to unblock the glands. Each session only takes up to 15 minutes but can be substituted by warm compresses at home.
There are drugs available called cholinergics that help increase your tear production. These medications can be taken as pills, gels, or eyedrops. For those suffering from eyelid inflammation, antibiotics may be recommended by your doctor. Antibiotics are most commonly taken as pills but an eyedrop form is an option.