What is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome

If you have dry eye syndrome, your tear glands don't make enough tears or your tears evaporate too fast. Your eyes may feel itchy, scratchy, and irritated. It may be caused by everyday things like being outdoors in the wind and sun, staring at a computer screen, or just being tired. Other causes include certain medicines, cigarette smoke, and wearing contact lenses for too long.

Treatments for dry eye syndrome may include prescription ointments or eyedrops or tear-duct plugs. Dry eye syndrome may go away with treatment. But for some people, it can be a lifelong problem.

What are the symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

When your eyes are too dry, they feel itchy, scratchy, and irritated.

How is dry eye syndrome treated?

Your doctor may prescribe ointments or eyedrops. Or they may recommend tear-duct plugs. These keep your tears from draining out.

How is dry eye syndrome diagnosed?

An eye doctor can usually tell that you have dry eye syndrome during a regular exam and hearing about your symptoms.

In some cases, you may have a special test to see if your eyes are making enough tears.

How do you care for yourself when you have dry eye syndrome?

You can use artificial-tear eyedrops that you can buy over the counter. Don't use eyedrops that are meant to treat bloodshot eyes. Try to blink often if you spend a lot of time at a computer screen. Limit your time in air-conditioned or heated rooms. You might try a humidifier. Keep the humidifier clean.

What causes dry eye syndrome?

Dry eyes can be caused by everyday things, like being outdoors in the wind and sun, staring at a computer screen, or just being tired. Being around cigarette smoke may also cause dry eyes.

Other possible causes include:

  • Certain medicines, such as antihistamines and some antidepressants.
  • Wearing contact lenses for too many hours at a time.
  • Certain eye surgeries, such as LASIK.

For many people, it's just part of getting older.

What is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome occurs when your tear glands don't make enough tears. It can also happen when your tears evaporate too fast. Your eyes need tears to stay clean and healthy. This problem is more common in older adults and in those with certain diseases, such as diabetes, allergic conjunctivitis, or Sjögren's syndrome.

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