Did you know that your eyes can produce four to five gallons of tears over the course of your lifetime? Keep in mind that tears aren’t just for expressing your sadness and happiness. Your tears are essential in keeping your eyes cleaned and protected!
In the United States, as many as 25 million people are affected by dry eye syndrome annually. But just because it’s common that you can dismiss it.
Natural Protective Fluid
Every time you blink, you place a tear or two across your eyes. The tears wash away the dust, dirt and particulates away from your eyes. The natural fluid also neutralizes microbes, particularly viruses and bacteria, which gather on your eyes’ surface.
The bottom line: Let your tears flow, not because you’re a weak and weepy but your eyes need them!
When Tears Are Lacking
What happens when your tears won’t naturally come? Unfortunately, you may be in for the dry eye syndrome, a painful and potentially eyesight-damaging issue.
In dry eye syndrome, your tear ducts are malfunctioning such that too little tears are produced. You can experience a few or all of these symptoms:
- Scratching sensation akin to sandpaper being rubbed across your eyes
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Watery eyes even though the dry eyes sensation is present
- Increased difficulty in focusing your eyes
- Unusual amount of squinting and blinking to rid yourself of the painful feeling
Dry eye syndrome can be triggered by a wide range of factors. These can include dust and dirt, dry air, and low humidity, as well as dirty contact lenses, medications, and blocked tear ducts.
Your doctor will ask detailed questions about the possible causes for your dry eyes. You should tell him about your medications, such as antihistamines and antidepressants since these can cause dry eyes. You may also be asked to submit to an eye exam at a Sear’s eye clinic since it may be caused by an underlying health condition.
Dry eyes may not seem as disturbing as age-related macular degeneration, chronic glaucoma, and cataracts, among others. But these shouldn’t be dismissed either since its can also cause vision damage, even blindness.
Of course, the syndrome can go for a long time before changes in your vision become noticeable. But why wait for irreversible damage to happen before seeing your eye doctor? You should call your eye doctor for an appointment to treat your condition.
You will likely be prescribed over-the-counter or prescription medications designed to stimulate tear production. Your eye doctor will also recommend lifestyle steps, such as placing warm compresses over your eyes for a few minutes at a time.