6 Signs It's Time to Consider Dry Eye Treatment
August 15, 2023
Are your eyes dry? Do they sometimes feel like they can't get enough moisture, no matter what you do?
It isn't uncommon for your eyes to feel dry sometimes. Your eyes need constant moisture to stay healthy, producing tears consistently.
They can feel a little dry when you're in a dry environment, dehydrated, or for other temporary reasons. But your eyes can also feel dry if you have a chronic eye condition.
When dry, your eyes may feel inflamed and gritty, even when clean. This can be very uncomfortable.
But when do you see an eye doctor for treatment? Keep reading to learn about 6 signs it's time to consider dry eye treatment!
Your eyes can feel dry due to certain temporary factors. Dry air can cause your tears to evaporate too quickly, and lack of adequate hydration and even nutrition can make it difficult for your eyes to produce tears.
In these cases, your eyes will usually feel better once you correct the direct trigger.
However, your eyes can also feel dry and uncomfortable if you suffer from a chronic condition called dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome is common, especially in older patients and women.
Hormonal changes like menopause can trigger it. It's also associated with certain age-related skin conditions like rosacea.
The only way to know if you have dry eye syndrome is to see your ophthalmologist at Washington Eye Specialists for testing and diagnosis. Consider the following signs that it may be time to consider dry eye treatment with your eye doctor:
1. Your Eyes Feel Dry All the Time
When your dry eyes feel better on their own after a day or so, you likely don't need to be concerned about experiencing a chronic issue. However, if your symptoms persist and don't go away after a few days or weeks, you should consider seeing your eye doctor.
You should also consider seeing your eye doctor if your dry eye symptoms disappear but then reappear. Your eyes may only feel dry sometimes, but if you have regular periods where your eyes are dry, it could be a reason for concern.
2. Changing Your Environment Doesn't Alleviate Your Symptoms
Since your environment can trigger dry eyes, changing where you are can be a good way of treating your symptoms. You can use a humidifier if your home or office is particularly dry.
You may also have dry eyes and sinuses if you always have the air conditioner running and sleep near a vent or a fan near your face. Changing where you sleep and turning off the fan or AC unit can help your eyes recover and recover lost moisture.
But when you can't find an environmental trigger for your dry eyes, or you've corrected what's supposed to be triggering your dry eye symptoms and haven't noticed any difference, that's when you should consider seeking professional treatment.
3. You Can No Longer Wear Contact Lenses
Contact lenses may make your eyes feel dry due to how they sit on your eye. You must be careful to keep them clean and use plenty of contact lens solution when putting them in.
If you misuse contact lenses, they can make your eyes feel extremely dry and irritated. However, if you're a practiced contact lens user and typically don't have any issues with them, they may still irritate your eyes if they are already dry for another reason.
If you have existing dry eye symptoms and wearing contact lenses makes them intolerable, this is a sign that you need to see your eye doctor.
4. Over-the-Counter Eye Drops Don't Help
Lubricating eye drops and artificial tears relieve minor eye irritation and can be bought without a prescription. Sometimes, when your eyes are just feeling a little dry, using artificial tears a few times is all the treatment you need.
But when these eye drops don't help or only provide fleeting relief, you should consider seeking professional treatment.
5. You Have Eye Pain
Dry eyes can be uncomfortable, and your eyes may feel like they're burning, stinging, or worse. If the burning and stinging feeling doesn't go away or worsens, you should see your eye doctor immediately.
When your eyes are dry, you're at higher risk for eye infections and corneal abrasions. When a corneal abrasion becomes infected, it can turn into a corneal ulcer.
A corneal ulcer is painful and can impact your vision, so receiving treatment for dry eyes is imperative. Ideally, you'd want to receive treatment before experiencing significant eye pain.
6. You’ve Experienced Visual Changes
If your eyes feel dry and you experience visual difficulties or vision loss, it's time to see your eye doctor. You could have corneal scarring, which can result from corneal ulcers.
Corneal scarring causes permanent visual symptoms, so you don't want to wait for treatment to prevent further scarring. Putting off dry eye treatment could mean bad things for your vision.
The best thing you can do is see your eye doctor for dry eye treatment before you develop corneal scarring and to avoid any visual changes.
Get Help and Treat Your Dry Eyes
If any of these signs sound familiar, don't wait to get help! Contact Washington Eye Specialists in Washington, DC, today to make an appointment with one of our specialists.
If you're suffering from dry eyes, now is the perfect time to get help and find the relief you need. Haven't you waited long enough?