Dry eye disease is a common condition that occurs when the eyes don’t produce enough tears. Tear production maintains the health of the surface of the eye, ensuring lubrication and clear vision. If your eyes get dry occasionally, you don’t have to worry. Allergies and various environmental factors such as low humidity or dust can cause dry eyes, but the effects are generally temporary. You should only start worrying if the condition persists and comes with additional symptoms besides dryness.
Here are four dry eye symptoms you should not ignore.
1. Difficulty Wearing Contact Lenses
Contact lenses can make dry eye symptoms unbearable because they exacerbate any discomfort and irritation you may feel. At the same time, wearing contact lenses for a long time can cause dry eyes. Not every contact lens wearer has the same experience, but those who have DES and wear lenses report more severe symptoms than non-wearers.
If you have – or suspect you have – DES, pay extra attention to what contacts you buy. Learn more about contact lenses for dry eyes to make the best choice.
Is wearing contacts painful or uncomfortable? Contact your ophthalmologist to determine if you have dry eye or if there’s something else causing you discomfort.
2. Sensitivity to Light
Another symptom of DES is being sensitive to light. Many people ignore this symptom, assuming the light in their environment is too harsh or that everyone is equally sensitive to sunlight. Therefore, they keep the lights at home dim and wear sunglasses outdoors. These habits help them manage their light sensitivity, also known as photophobia.
Although sensitivity to light doesn’t always occur along with dry eye syndrome, never ignore this issue. Investigate the cause as quickly as possible to avoid future complications.
3. A Burning or Stinging Sensation in the Eyes
One of the worst symptoms of dry eye is a tingling or burning sensation in the eyes that doesn’t go away. It can be very challenging to tolerate the itchiness and the feeling that there’s something in your eyes. Many people turn first to home remedies, some of which can provide temporary relief.
Most of us are used to feeling a burning sensation in the eyes due to dust, pollen, allergies, or weather. Sometimes we may wrongly assume that this symptom does not indicate a severe problem. Knowing that this type of irritation is often associated with a chronic condition like DES is thus crucial.
4. Eye Redness
Eye redness is associated with many issues like conjunctivitis. Environmental factors can also be responsible for red eyes. Some common causes are airborne allergies, overexposure to UV light, smoke, dry air in arid climates and air-conditioned interiors, airborne fumes, chemical exposure, and poor air quality at home. It’s easy to see why people would struggle to tell if their red eyes indicate a temporary discomfort or an actual disease.
Because red eyes can have many causes, visit your doctor as soon as possible to get to the root of the problem.
Vision plays a fundamental role in your quality of life, and DES is one of the most common things that threaten the health of your eyes. Educating yourself about the symptoms associated with dry eye syndrome can help you make the right choices for yourself.