Dry Eye Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Dry eye syndrome occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears. Know its symptoms, causes, and treatment. 

Navya Kharbanda
Written by: Navya KharbandaPublished at: Sep 10, 2022Updated at: Sep 10, 2022
Dry Eye Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Dry eye syndrome is a condition in which your eyes are not able to produce enough tears or cannot maintain a normal layer of lubrication to cover the eyes. Your eyes can also be at a higher risk of bacterial infections, or it can cause inflammation on the surface of your eyes, leading to damage to the cornea. The symptoms of dry eye syndrome can be uncomfortable, but it generally never results in permanent vision loss. If you are suffering from dry eyes, your eyes may have a slight sting or burning sensation. You might feel dry eyes in some situations, like on an airplane, while sitting in an air-conditioned room, while riding a bike or looking into a computer screen constantly, etc. Read the article further to know about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of dry eye syndrome. 

Dry eye syndrome symptoms 

If you are suffering from dry eye syndrome, it can affect one or usually both the eyes. It is best to visit a doctor if you have had persistent signs and symptoms of dry eyes, like red, irritated, and painful eyes. Listed below are the common symptoms of dry eye syndrome: 

  • Stinging, burning, or itchy sensation in your eyes
  • Too much string like mucus in or around your eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Redness in eyes
  • A sensation of something disturbing your eyes
  • Watery eyes, after feeling the irritation due to dry eyes
  • Blurred vision or too much tiredness in eyes

Causes of dry eye syndrome 

Basically, tears have three main layers, including an oily outer layer, watery middle layer, and the inner mucus layer. If the tears producing glands get inflamed or are not able to produce enough water, oil, or mucus, it can result in dry eye syndrome. When there is a deficiency of oil in your tears, they evaporate instantly and your eyes are unable to maintain a constant supply of moisture. The common causes or risk factors of dry eye syndrome are listed below:

  • Allergies 
  • Exposure to the wind or dry air
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • LASIK eye surgery
  • Certain medications
  • Aging
  • Wearing contact lenses for a long time
  • Looking into the computer screen for a few hours
  • Not blinking your eyes enough

Dry eye syndrome treatment and prevention 

For a lot of people who experience occasional or mild dry eye symptoms, the best way to treat it is using over-the-counter eye drops (artificial tears) regularly. If the symptoms of dry eyes are prolonged and more severe, there are other treatment options. Your lifestyle activities can determine what causes dry eyes. There are medications and eye drops that a doctor can prescribe to manage the symptoms of dry eye syndrome. Here are some ways that can help in preventing dry eye syndrome: 

1. Humidifier

Adding moisture to the air can help in managing the symptoms of dry eye syndrome. During the winter season, a humidifier can even help in adding moisture to dry indoor air.

Also read: Study: Eye Drops Made With Human Antibodies Can Treat Dry Eyes

2. Protect your eyes

It is good to cover your eyes with sunglasses or any other protective eyewear. There are safety shields available that can be used on the tops and sides of eyeglasses to restrict exposure to wind and dry air. 

3. Eye breaks 

Give your eyes  frequent breaks during long tasks, especially on a screen. If you are reading or doing any other task that needs visual concentration, take proper eye breaks. Close your eyes two to three minutes or blink continuously for a few seconds to spread the tears evenly in your eyes.