Dear Mayo Clinic: My eyes feel dry and hazy. My eyes were burned and stabbed, and I couldn’t wear contact lenses because they were watery. How do you get your eyes dry and watery at the same time? And what can we do to fix this?
answer: It is common for tears to come out when the eyes are dry. Watery eyes are the number one complaint of dry eye. That’s because when your eyes are dry enough, they behave as if they have something in them and try to wash them away. And this leads to tears.
People with dry eye do not cause poor quality tears, enough tears, or both. It causes chronic inflammation of the surface of the eye and a stinging or burning sensation. It can also cause red eye, difficulty wearing contact lenses, blurred vision, and hypersensitivity to light and eye strain.
Winters can be particularly difficult with dry air and forced air heaters in vehicles and other closed environments.
There are many causes of dry eye, and some people are at high risk of developing dry eye. People with alcoholic acne; diabetes; thyroid disease; autoimmune disease; inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, scab, and Sjogren’s syndrome are more likely to develop dry eye.
The development of dry eye can be affected by the overall health of the eye. Irregular eyelid edges, eyelash mites, and some eye diseases can contribute to dry eye disease. It can also cause dry eye, which is common when using digital devices, such as wearing contact lenses for long periods of time, blinking slowly, or blinking incompletely.
Environmental factors such as used smoke, seasonal poor air quality, and polluted air can cause eye irritation and problems.
Your diet can also affect your eyes. A diet high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids can cause inflammation, an important component of dry eye. Like the Mediterranean diet, the Heart Smart Diet, which is high in Vitamin D, is the Eye Smart Diet.
Taking medications such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and oral contraceptives increases the likelihood of dry eye.
Preservatives for chronically used medicated eye drops, such as glaucoma drops and over-the-counter artificial tears, can also exacerbate the symptoms of dry eye.
Avoid drops that claim to erase red. These can cause rebounded red eyes, which make the eyes even redder and more annoying than before.
Finally, as we get older, dry eye becomes more common. Normal aging changes your eyes, and they don’t work as you did when you were young. Dry eye can also be caused by changes in hormone levels associated with age, menopause, pregnancy or oral contraceptives.
But what if your eyes are dry and you cry? The first step is to visit an ophthalmologist to discuss your symptoms.
Many people do not mention these issues because they do not attach great importance to them. Your doctor will work to assess your symptoms, and the quality and quantity of your tears.
Once the evaluation is complete, your doctor will develop a treatment plan to improve your eye and dry eye environment.
This may include the use of supplements, hot compresses, and prescription drops. Improve your diet; control the environment with a humidifier.
Unfortunately, there is no magic wand that can immediately improve dry eye disease. Your dry eye disease did not occur overnight. Development takes months and years and will not go away soon.
However, following a treatment plan, learning and using new habits may improve your dry eye illness.
— Dr. Robert Frize, Department of Ophthalmology, Mayo Clinic Health Systems, Fairmont, Minnesota.
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