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Why Are My Eyes Weepy?

There is nothing worse than having dry, scratchy eyes when you’re trying to watch television or read a book. They sting, burn, or may feel like there’s sand in them. Is your vision blurred? Do you constantly blink or have eyes that keep watering? You rub, you dab, you put in over-the-counter eye drops, and try to explain that you’re really not weepy, but it may not help. You may have dry eye syndrome.

Who’s Affected?

More than 75% of people age 65 and older are affected by dry eyes–over 59 million according to one study. As women age, hormones decrease during menopause. Although many changes occur, one symptom is dry eyes. Unfortunate for women, they are more likely to develop vision problems due to the shift in balance between estrogen and progesterone says Dr. James V. Aquavella, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Rochester Eye Institute in Rochester, N.Y.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Scratchy eyes St. Louis are caused when your eyes do not produce enough tears or when one of the three tear layers gets weak. If the first tear layer becomes dehydrated, nerve endings responsible for tear production are affected. The result is increased tear production. In trying to fix the scratchy, itchy, dry eyes, more tears are produced.

What Causes It?

Many factors play into dry eye syndrome besides age. Certain medications such as antihistamines, hormone therapy, and antidepressants can cause it. Exposure to wind, heat, or dry climate may affect your eyes. Pregnancy, smoking, and other general health problems can cause scratchy eyes.

What You Can Do

Here are ways you can alleviate discomfort.

  1. Wear sunglasses to protect from sun and wind.
  2. Decrease use of caffeine and cigarettes.
  3. Drink plenty of water.
  4. Blink more when reading or extended times on the computer.
  5. Use artificial tears or lubricant eye drops.
  6. Eat more fish. Anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids support proper tear secretion.
  7. Take vitamins and fish oil supplements.
  8. Call your ophthalmologist.

Be Prepared for Your Visit

Your eye doctor will want to know some answers about you so he can help you in the best way possible. Be prepared to tell him:

  • what kind of symptoms you have, even those that seem unrelated
  • recent life changes or major stresses
  • type of environment you work in (i.e., time in front of a computer)

Bring a list of medications along with vitamins and minerals that you take daily. It is also a good idea to write down your questions and concerns before you go as visits are usually time-limited.

Is There a Cure?

Although no cure has been found, your doctor may give a prescription for steroidal eye drops to reduce inflammation. If drops don’t do the trick, tiny silicone plugs may be placed in tear-duct openings, or surgery may be recommended to close the ducts. The goal is to minimize dryness and restore the overall health of the eye so that it can produce normal amounts of tears. Weepy, dry eyes doesn’t have to be your lifestyle. Scratchy eyes St. Louis physicians have answers!