Do you suffer from itchy, burning, or scratchy eyes? As you age, normal tear production tends to decrease, which can lead to dry eyes.
You don't have to let dry, irritated eyes interfere with your vision and drive you crazy. Paying attention to simple things, such as the food you eat, the medications you take, and the environment you are in, may help you discover how you can eliminate the irritation altogether.
Is Your Tear Function Interrupted?
Even though you're not crying all the time, you need to continuously produce tears to protect your eyes and help keep them comfortable. A decrease in normal tear production or an interruption in the distribution of your tears can lead to dry eyes.
A decrease in tear production may occur as a natural part of aging and is particularly common among postmenopausal women. Or it could be due to other reasons, such as allergies, dry weather, cosmetics, or contact lenses. Eyes can also feel dry when tears are not distributed well, such as when you stare at a computer screen for long hours without blinking often.
The result is eyes that burn, sting, or feel scratchy, tired, or strained. Whatever the cause of your dry eyes, there are self-care methods you can try in order to help your peepers feel comfortable and keep your vision clear.
What Can You Do About Dry Eyes?
To give tired, scratchy eyes soothing relief, try these preventive steps:
See Your Doctor If . . .
If self-care methods do not improve your eyes after a few days, see your doctor, especially if your dry eyes are red and painful or are accompanied by swollen, stiff, and/or painful joints; dry mouth; or discharge on your eye or eyelid.
For many people, a bit more awareness about the habits and environments that can cause problems is enough to help keep their eyes clear and comfortable.
More Than a Nuisance?
If dry eye symptoms do not improve with self-care methods, see your doctor to rule out underlying medical conditions that can cause dry eyes, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren's syndrome, or dry eye syndrome.