Colorado has one of the driest, humid climates in the United States, leaving many residents of our beautiful state to deal with some pretty nasty repercussions. Among them is a condition known as dry eye. Most of us have experienced dry eye on occasion, especially during or after one of the state’s strong winds passes through. But, dry eye is an actual medical condition that causes many people to seek medical treatment. Despite being no cure for dry eye, treatments make the condition more tolerable.
Dry Eye Syndrome Facts & Symptoms
Men and women both experience dry eye syndrome, though women oftentimes experience the condition more frequently, possibly due to hormonal fluctuations. It’s also more prominent in adults over age 40 but can occur at any age. Symptoms vary from one person to the next, tough tend to worsen later in the day. Common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:
- Persistent dryness, burning sensation, and scratchiness
- Foreign body sensation in the eyes
What Causes Dry Eye?
Dry eye occurs when the tear glands that normally moisturize the eye don’t produce enough tears. Or, there may be enough tears, but the tears may have a composition that causes quick evaporation which may also dry out the eyes. It occurs during the aging process, as a side effect of certain medications, including antidepressants, and due to the dry, windy Colorado climate combined with low humidity levels.
Air conditioning and heating units also cause dry eyes for Colorodians who use the systems in their homes or businesses. It is especially bothersome during the cold months of the year in the state, but heat does bother some people more than the cold. Insufficient blinking also causes dry eye. People who work on computers for long periods each day may sustain dry eye as a result of insufficient blinking.
Pre-existing health conditions can also cause dry eyes. People with medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Sjogren’s Syndrome may also experience dry eye syndrome. Long-term contact lenses wear, tear duct production deficiency, and eyelid disease are additional dry eye causes.
How to Treat Colorado Dry Eye
Dry eye treatment varies for each patient and is determined based upon the specific cause and symptoms the person experiences. The doctor will ensure that any underlying conditions are addressed, as well as medicinal concerns, as a part of the treatment process. Since there isn’t a cure for dry eye, patients should expect the need for ongoing treatment to maintain symptom-free days.
Doctors oftentimes recommend patients use artificial tears to treat dry eyes. The lubricating drops stop scratchiness and other dry eye symptoms sufficient for most patients. Prescription eye drops provide the same benefits as over-the-counter drops but take things one step further by increasing the production of tears in the eyes. The doctor will determine if a prescription artificial tears product is needed.
Some patients require steroid injections to treat their dry eye condition. This treatment is necessary for extreme dry eye conditions, infections, etc. Your Colorado Springs Eye Doctor can better decide if steroids offer the best line of treatment for your dry eyes needs. Sometimes the doctor may recommend a tiny insert into the lower eyelid that contains lubricating ingredients that will moisturize the eye throughout the day and night.