Do you always feel like your eyes are dry and scratchy? Are you constantly reaching for eye drops for relief? Getting to the bottom of what is causing your chronic eye dryness is the first step in seeking relief. Here's a look at three common causes of ongoing eye dryness.
Allergies to dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores are particularly frustrating since the symptoms often persist all year-long. Dry eyes are a common symptom of indoor allergies, especially if you have forced air heating that blows these allergens around, constantly putting them into contact with your face. If you also find yourself sneezing a lot and have noticed that your symptoms are worse when you're indoors, allergies are a likely explanation for your dry eyes. To tackle indoor allergies, you need to take a comprehensive approach, which includes:
- Deep cleaning your home to remove as many allergens as possible (vacuum and dust everything).
- Have your air ducts cleaned to remove any mold lingering in them.
- Undergo allergy testing to verify if a pet might be the culprit, and then consider re-homing the pet if needed.
- Work with an allergist to find a medication that keeps your allergy symptoms under control.
If you are a female going through menopause, then this may be the cause of your eye dryness. The changes in hormone levels that occur during menopause can reduce tear production. Luckily, there are many ways to deal with this. Your eye doctor may recommend punctal plugs, which are little plugs that are inserted in the tear ducts to ensure tears remain on the surface of the eye much longer. Hormone replacement therapy may also help, as may taking a medication to specifically increase tear production.
Are you taking a medication for a mood disorder, seizures, pain management, or high blood pressure? If so, take a look at the information packet included with your medication. Dry eyes may be listed as a possible side effect. If you suspect your medication may be leading to your eye dryness, talk to the doctor who prescribed the medication. He or she may recommend chancing your dose or switching to a different medication to alleviate the dryness. Another option may be to take a second medication to increase tear production.
Don't just ignore your eye dryness and hope it gets better on its own. The sooner you figure out what's causing it, the sooner you'll have relief. For more information, contact an optometrist in your area.