What Does Dry Eye Look Like?
If you notice your eyes are looking red or even bloodshot, there are several common causes that are the likely culprit. Allergies, broken blood vessels, pinkeye, glaucoma and dry eye syndrome are some of the most notable triggers for eye redness. When tiny blood vessels on the white surface of the eye expand, one or both eyes turn a pink or reddish color. Irritations, medications, skin problems and underlying eye conditions can contribute to red eyes. Dry eye can look like red eyes but in most cases, symptoms of dry eye are more the feeling you are experiencing than how the eye itself looks.
Dry eye looks like a combination of symptoms including burning, fatigued eyes, heavy eyelids, the feeling that something gritty is in the eye, stringy mucus, difficulty reading, light sensitivity and blurred vision. Typically, over the counter eye drops provide relief for dry eye symptoms. Prescription medications may be given by your eye doctor in the form of Restasis (an anti-inflammatory commonly prescribed to increase tears to reduce potential damage to the cornea) or corticosteroid eye drops to help alleviate the feeling of dry eyes.
Another physical symptom of what dry eye looks like is in tear quality and tear production. Dry eye syndrome occurs from either a lack of tears produced or an overabundance of tears. In some cases, dry eyes occur because of poor quality of tears that do not fully and properly coat the eyes. Eyes require lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eyes for protection and nutrition. When dry eye occurs, the eyes are left vulnerable to bacterial infection, and in severe cases, scarring of the cornea. If artificial eye drops are not providing long-term relief, your eye doctor may suggest tear duct plugs (also known as punctal plugs) or, in rare instances, surgery. Other relief options include a warm compress, supplements, meibomian gland expansion, intense pulsed light treatment, flushing of the tear ducts, scleral contact lenses or amniotic membranes and drops.
Dry eyes are very common and are mostly brought on by everyday factors such as contact lens wearing, medication usage, cosmetic and skincare products and environmental conditions such as dry weather. Aging, health issues (rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, thyroid disease, scleroderma, lupus, and vitamin A deficiency), eyelid closing problems and recent eye surgery (such as LASIK) can also cause dry eyes.
Dry eye symptoms are mild but irritating. Prevention tips include using a humidifier, quitting smoking, blink often, lubricate the eyes with artificial tears and wear sunglasses when outside. If you are experiencing dry eyes, Kalamazoo Ophthalmology can offer you a proper diagnosis to begin a customized treatment plan to relieve what dry eye looks like for you. Call us today at 269-329-5860 or schedule your comprehensive eye exam at WEBSITE.