Eyes Feel Dry?
Are your eyes especially dry during the winter months? If so, you’re not alone. Dry indoor heat, cold air and less humidity can take a toll on our eyes. But how do you know if it’s a temporary condition or the beginning of Chronic Dry Eye (CDE) disease, a progressive condition affecting five million Americans age 50 and older (primarily women) in which tears fail to produce normally; and if left untreated, can lead to eye infections, scarring and visual impairment? First, be aware of the symptoms. When you have CDE, your eyes may not just feel dry – you may also experience other uncomfortable, even painful symptoms, including: Dryness/itching Burning/stinging Watering eyes Sensitivity to light A gritty or sandy sensation Feeling like something is in your eye Blurry vision or difficulty seeing at night Problems wearing contact lenses Excessive blinking While these symptoms are temporary for some people, those with Chronic Dry Eye disease may find that these symptoms become worse or more frequent over time. If so, you should be evaluated for the condition by your Today’s Vision optometrist, who may recommend: tear supplements or gels; nutraceuticals, such as flaxseed oil or fish oil; prescribe medication, such as Restasis; or insert plugs to close the ducts that drain tears out of the eye. During the winter, symptoms may be alleviated with a humidifier in your bedroom or on your furnace. A pan of water on the radiator also adds moisture to dry indoor air. Some people find dry-eye relief by supplementing their diet with omega-3 fatty acids, found naturally in foods like salmon, sardines, anchovies and flax seeds, or in supplements.