Dry Eye Symptoms: When to Talk to an Eye Doctor

When the tears can’t adequately hydrate the eyes, then it is known as dry eye syndrome. While some of the dry eye symptoms seem straightforward, you might be surprised to learn about other symptoms that seem unrelated to the condition. The best thing that you can do is learn about this eye problem, then talk to an experienced Chicago optometrist to determine the right treatment options.

Common Dry Eye Symptoms

Here are some of the most common symptoms that occur when someone is suffering from dry eye syndrome:

  • Burning sensation in the eyes
  • Stinging sensation in the eyes
  • Scratchy sensation in the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Redness in the white areas
  • Feeling like you always have something caught in the eye
  • Discomfort or inability to wear contact lenses
  • Difficulty when driving at night
  • Eye fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Watery eyes or excess tears

The last symptom is the biggest surprise to people who aren’t familiar with this eye condition. How can you be suffering from dry eyes when you have excess tears and constant watering of the eyes? The dryness of the surface of the eyes could cause the tear ducts to be over-stimulated. This protective mechanism results in excess fluid to add more moisture to the eyes. But, the “reflex tearing” don’t remain on the eye very long, causing the eyes to dry out again… which leads to an overproduction of tears. This cycle can be corrected by treating the dry eye problem.

Why Dry Eye Syndrome Shouldn’t Be Ignored

When you are experiencing insufficient lubrication on the surface of the eye, the initial symptoms are uncomfortable. But, ongoing eye irritation can lead to chronic inflammation, which eventually scars the front surface of the eyes.

Keep in mind that tears have a purpose in protecting your eyes. The moisture keeps the eyeballs lubricated. Additionally, tears are needed to wash the surface of the eye so that dirt, debris, and other unwanted objects are washed away before the cornea is damaged.

Do You Need to Talk to an Eye Doctor?

If you are experiencing the symptoms listed above, then it could mean that your eyes aren’t producing enough tears for the lubrication that is needed. Or, another possibility is that you are experiencing poor-quality tear film. Tears should have three components: a lipid (oily) component, an aqueous (water) component, and a mucin (mucous-like) component. If these components are off-balance, then the tear film might evaporate too quickly, which reduces lubrication on the surface of the eye. This problem could be caused by issues in the tear glands located in or near the eyes. These glands are designed to produce the tears; then the lubrication is spread across the surface of the eyes when you blink.

So, how do you know when you need to talk to a doctor about your dry eyes? If you find that the above symptoms are chronic, then it is important to consult with an experienced optometrist to identify the best treatment options. Call us at West Loop Eye Care or use our online booking system to schedule an appointment. We can help you identify a diagnosis and to learn more about the treatments that are offered.