You can probably expect to experience eye irritation, redness, and even blurred vision related to dry eyes at some point in your life. These symptoms are typically related to too much screen time or other activities that temporarily strain your eyes. The condition can also be provoked by allergies or dry air. For some individuals, however, dry eyes can become a daily experience that may interfere with your work, home, or social routine.
Mitchell C. Latter, MD is a board-certified ophthalmologist with decades of experience in treating eye conditions that affect your vision and impair your ability to see details of the world around you. He provides quality eye care to residents of all ages in and around the communities of Bellflower and Pasadena, California.
Widely respected for his skill in taking care of your eyes, Dr. Latter is happy to provide information about dry eye syndrome and the therapies available for treating this frustrating issue.
When should I visit the eye doctor about dry eyes and irritation?
Dry eyes are usually a temporary condition that’s relieved by turning off the computer and switching your focus to activities that use less visual focus or simply closing your eyes for a few minutes to refresh the tear layer that maintains the moisture in your eyes.
But there are times when the symptoms become more frequent and persistent and may require a visit to our practice. Symptoms to watch for include:
- Red or itchy eyes
- Sense of grittiness or “sandpaper-like” dryness
- Increased tearing due to irritation
- Difficulty seeing clearly at night
- Problems wearing contact lenses
- Blurred vision
- Light sensitivity
Dr. Latter may suspect dry eye syndrome when these symptoms occur regularly or interfere with your ability to complete daily work tasks, participate in hobbies, or enjoy the outdoors.
What causes dry eye syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is related to problems within the three-layer tear surface that keeps your eyes moist, which is composed of water and mucus combined with enough oil (lipids) to help prevent the surface moisture from evaporating too quickly.
Dry eyes may be linked to decreased tear production or poor-quality tears caused by:
- Natural changes associated with aging
- Thyroid disorders
- Certain medications
- Autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus
- Eye infections
- Prolonged exposure to overly dry indoor or outdoor environments
- Vitamin A deficiency
Prolonged screen time and other detailed work such as sewing and reading can become especially problematic since you tend to blink less frequently when participating in these activities.
Treating dry eyes
Dr. Latter may recommend simple steps you can take at home or work to help protect your eyes from drying out, including:
- Adding moisture to your environment with a humidifier
- Wearing UV protective sunglasses outdoors
- Closing your eyes occasionally or blinking frequently
- Using artificial tears to help keep your eyes moist
For moderate to severe persistent symptoms, Dr. Latter may prescribe oral medication or prescription eye drops to decrease inflammation, increase healthy tear production, or control underlying issues causing your dry eyes.
He may also recommend changes in your contact lenses that help decrease dry eye and resulting irritation.
Regardless of what’s causing your dry eyes, you don’t have to live with the symptoms. Schedule an evaluation today with Dr. Latter. Call the office or request an appointment online.