Red, dry, itchy eyes are quite a common affliction for many people. Usually people will reason that their red eyes are a simple symptom of allergies or not enough sleep. However, not all reasons for red eyes are so simple. While many times red eyes are indeed a minor condition that requires little or no treatment and that will resolve itself after a bit of time passes, sometimes your red, dry, itchy eyes indicate something more complicated and harder to treat. This is an eye condition called dry eye syndrome.
When the blood vessels on the surface of the eye become irritated, your eyes may take on a red appearance. A person may refer to a number of different eye conditions that may cause red, bloodshot eyes including irritated eyes from allergies, substance abuse and/or fatigue. Usually, red eyes do not signal a serious condition, and time, patience and good hygiene are all that is needed. Red eyes related to allergies take almost no time to clear up after the allergen is removed. The same is true for red eyes associated with substance abuse, which return to normal soon after the substance has left the body. Conjunctivitis and similar infections may take up to a few weeks for your red eye to clear up.
By contrast, dry eye syndrome requires very particular, professional treatment, and usually causes considerable pain and discomfort until steps are taken to treat dry eyes. Dr. Bricker Buseth, of Eye Services of Jackson in Jackson, Mississippi adds, “A few things may cause dry eye syndrome. Sometimes, the eye is unable to produce the proper amount of tears, leading to a drying out of the eye due to a simple shortage of tears. On the other hand, it is also possible for the eye to produce enough tears, but for these tears to lack at least one essential element to allow the tear to properly spread over, stick to and hydrate the eye.”
A person may develop dry eye syndrome as a result of hormonal changes or illnesses like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Various medications are also known to trigger dry eye symptoms.
Artificial tears are the most common, and generally the most effective solution for dry eye symptoms. These prescription eye drops are specially formulated to imitate the tears normally produced by your eyes. Artificial tears come in a number of different types. Each type is formulated to address a certain cause of dry eye syndrome. Artificial tears may help reduce the shortage of real tears being produced by your eyes, or may attempt to aid in construction of the parts of the tear that are missing.
Knowing which type of artificial tears you need may be difficult, but your eye doctor in Jackson, MI will be able to help you understand your form of dry eye syndrome and which artificial tears will work best for you.
For questions and more information, consult Dr. Buseth today.