By Trevor Elmquist, D.O., Elmquist Eye Group
The main purpose of tears is to lubricate the eyes by providing a thin film that clears the vision. However, when the eyes do not make enough tears or they evaporate too quickly, the result is common dry eye symptoms. Sometimes the cause of dry eye is something very simple, like old age. With age, the lachrymal glands start producing less and less tears and it naturally leads to dry eyes.
Symptoms of dry eye include itching, burning, irritation or grittiness; redness; blurry vision that gets clearer as you blink; light sensitivity; and excessive tearing. Many of these symptoms may also be found in other eye conditions, making careful diagnosis especially important.
Dry eye syndrome is not usually a serious condition. It may be slightly painful, but it should not affect vision. However, there are rare cases where severe untreated dry eye syndrome has caused visual impairment and scarring of the eye’s surface.
If you suspect you have dry eyes, you should make an appointment to see an eye doctor. He or she will determine which treatment is best for you based on your individual circumstances. As is the case in many medical conditions, dry eye syndrome is easier to manage when treatment is started early in the course of the disorder.