Over 30 million Americans suffer from the symptoms of dry eyes. Itching, burning and irritated eyes can interfere with your quality of life, and to make matters worse, there is no permanent cure for dry eyes yet.
Researchers believe there are two main reasons for dry eyes, and sometimes they go hand in hand. Most of the time, dry eyes are caused by an inability to make enough tears to keep the eyes properly lubricated. But, it can also be caused by not enough oil being produced around the eyelids. Sometimes, inflammation of the surface of the eye causes this to happen.
Surprising Symptoms of Dry Eyes
It's true that most people experience a bout of dry eyes at least once or twice in their life. This can be due to environmental reasons, allergies or other temporary factors. Sometimes, the symptoms of dry eyes are more than just red, irritated eyes. Other, more surprising symptoms include:
- Blurred vision that comes and goes
- Eyes that feel tired or heavy
- Overproduction of tears (this usually occurs when a lack of oil is to blame for dry-eye symptoms)
- Crying with no tears
- Feeling like there is dirt or sand in the eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Trouble driving at night
Treating Dry Eyes
Over-the-counter artificial tears are very helpful in treating discomfort and managing symptoms. Most people who feel like these products don't work very well just aren't using them enough. You should be using the drops multiple times a day. If you're just putting them in in the morning, they aren't going to last all day. There are also prescription drugs for dry eyes. Restasis and Xiidra help people produce more tears by decreasing inflammation on the surface of the eyes. For over 13 years, Restasis was the only prescription eye drop approved by the FDA to treat dry eyes.
There are some pros and cons to each of the medications on the market to treat dry eyes. Restasis has been on the market longer, so there is more information out there about treatment and side effects, and many doctors are familiar with it. However, it can take up to three months to see results. Xiidra, although newer, can start working in as little as two weeks. Both medications can be pricey without insurance, but both are approved by the FDA to treat symptoms of dry eyes.
For any questions about dry eyes, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Norman, call us at the Advanced Eyelid Surgery Center today at 817-778-4444.