Tired, red, stinging, watery or itchy eyes can be a sign that you have dry eyes. Dry eyes can be an indication that your tears are inadequate or imbalanced. This can cause a condition that can become chronic. Nearly 5 million Americans suffer from dry eyes.1 If you’re one of them, start the New Year right by finding the solution to your problem with dry eyes. At Colorado Ophthalmology Associates, we treat chronic dry eyes with a balanced approach.
Symptoms of dry eyes
- Easily fatigued or tired eyes
- Red eyes
- Scratchy, gritty, itchy feeling
- Watery eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Difficulty with contact lenses
- Blurred vision
- Unusual, heavy or stringy discharge
- Stinging or burning eyes
- Difficulty with night vision
My dry eyes are irritating but are they really a serious condition?
Chronic dry eyes could be caused by atmosphere issues, such as fans or forced air, by computer eye fatigue, by hormone changes, by decreased tear production, or even by allergies. These causes can often be corrected with lifestyle changes and minor treatments.
But at other times, dry eyes can be the symptom of another underlying medical condition. If you have been suffering from dry eyes, get a complete eye exam to ensure your eyes are healthy. Some conditions that cause dry eyes include thyroid conditions, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, Bell’s palsy, and diabetes.
What options are available to treat my dry eyes?
At Colorado Ophthalmology Associates, we treat dry eyes starting with the most minimally-invasive options. Most conditions can be managed or reversed with these treatments and with lifestyle and environmental changes2.
- Over-the-counter products: artificial tears, gels and moisturizers
- Prescription eye drops
- Punctal plugs to block drainage duct
- Surgery to fix eyelids to prevent evaporation
- Vitamin A supplements
- Omega-3 fatty acid supplements
- Flaxseed oil supplements
- Prescription steroids
- Prescriptions slow-release eye lubricants
- Meibomian gland expression to open oil glands in eyelids
- Warm compresses
- Eye makeup removal and eye scrubs to make sure eyelids are clean
- Avoid contact lens use
- Antibiotic treatment for any eyelid inflammation or cornea inflammation
Is there any way to prevent dry eyes?
Yes, some kinds of dry eyes are preventable3. Environmental and lifestyle adjustments may be needed such as:
- Redirecting fans or staying out of the wind.
- Wearing wrap-around sunglasses to deflect wind.
- Don’t use hairdryers.
- Increase moisture with air humidifiers.
- Avoid smoke and stop smoking.
- Take frequent breaks when staring at computer or video screens. Use the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Lower your computer to below eye level so your eyes aren’t open as wide for as long.
- Increase blinking, especially when using a computer. Post reminders or use alarms to help you make more effort blinking.
- Use artificial tears as needed.
- Drink enough water each day.
- Get 8 to 10 hours of sleep in a darkened room each night.
- Medication management – some prescriptions can cause dry eyes. There are also prescriptions that can help manage conditions that cause dry eyes.
Get an appointment for an eye exam today
Dry eyes can reduce your quality of life and interfere with your activities. Let us give you a thorough examination to try to pinpoint the cause of your dry eyes. Come to one of our two Colorado locations for an exam by one of our board-certified, experienced ophthalmologists and let us help you start feeling better again. Call us today to make an appointment:
Are you suffering from watery, red, swollen eyes? As the leaves fall, allergies flare up, causing eye irritation and discomfort for many people in the Denver and Lakewood, CO, region. At Colorado Ophthalmology Associates, we see our share of patients struggling with seasonal allergies during this time when all the vegetation is becoming dry, dusty and airborne. Here is some information to help you during this uncomfortable time.
What are the symptoms of seasonal eye allergies?
Not sure if you have allergies, a cold, or even COVID-19? Here are some common allergy symptoms to help you distinguish:
- Red eyes
- Burning eyes
- Swollen eyes
- Bags under the eyes
- Watery eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Runny nose
- Itchy nose, roof of mouth
To further distinguish between allergies and COVID-19, consider these two key points. First, coronavirus usually does not produce red, watery, itchy eyes like allergies do. Second, coronavirus usually comes with a fever and allergies don’t1.
What are the causes of seasonal eye allergies?
When an irritant comes in contact with your eyes, the body’s mast cells respond by releasing a substance called histamines. Histamines attack the invader in an attempt to fight it off. This can cause the red, watery and itchy eyes.
Some people are more susceptible to allergens than others. If both of your parents have allergies, you are much more likely to suffer from them as well2.
The eyes can react to a wide variety of irritants and allergens such as:
- Dried leaves
- Dried weeds
- Pet dander
- Preservatives in eye drops
When should I see my ophthalmologist?
If you have red, watery, irritated eyes, you can get an appointment at Colorado Ophthalmology & Associates any time for an evaluation. We can easily diagnose eye allergies through a microscopic examination of your eyes as well as a compilation of family history of allergies3. Your eyes will be examined for infection to ensure they are healthy during this season of heightened allergens.
What is the treatment for eye allergies?
The first and easiest step to treat eye allergies is to reduce your exposure to irritants. This would include staying indoors with doors and windows closed, using air conditioning, wiping or brushing pets when they come indoors, and changing clothes when you come inside. Keep inside air clean with wet mopping and HEPA air filters, and use a dehumidifier to keep mold away. Avoid lawn work that would increase your exposure as well as hanging laundry to dry outside. Try to go outdoors after a rain has settled the pollen and wear a pollen mask when you do go outside4.
Over-the-counter antihistamines may provide some relief from your eye allergies. Your ophthalmologist will be able to recommend a good brand of antihistamine, decongestant or combination medication that can help. Artificial tears and saline nasal washes can cleanse irritants from the eyes and sinuses. Your doctor may also prescribe corticosteroids or antihistamines with mast cell stabilizers. Immunotherapy shots may also be a treatment option.
Get an appointment for an eye exam today!
If you are suffering from seasonal eye allergies, come to one of our two Colorado locations for an initial exam so we can evaluate your eye health. We’re here to help when your eyes are irritated and reacting to the environment. Call us today to make an appointment: