These days red eyes are not considered to be particularly worrisome. People will usually brush off their red eyes as simply a symptom of allergies or fatigue. In many cases, of course, they are right. It should be noted, however, that not all causes for red eyes are created equal. Red eyes are indeed usually something minor, and little or no treatment is required. But sometimes red, dry, itchy eyes indicate a more complicated and harder to treat condition. This is dry eye syndrome.
When the blood vessels on the surface of the eye become irritated, your eyes become “bloodshot” or “red.” Eyes often become irritated as a result of allergies, side effects from prescription and illegal substances and/or lack of proper sleep. Usually, red eyes do not signal a serious condition, and time is essentially the only medicine required. If your red eyes are related to allergies, your red eyes should take almost no time to clear up after the allergen is removed, while those with conjunctivitis and similar infections may have to wait up to a few weeks for their red eyes to get better.
Dry eye syndrome is different from other causes of red eyes, and requires special treatment to avoid significant pain and discomfort. Dr. Jerry Phillips of Eyes Of The World in Eugene, Oregon adds, “Dry eye syndrome may be caused by a few different things. In some cases, the eye is unable to produce the proper amount of tears. This leads to a drying out of the eye for the simple reason that there aren't enough tears to keep the eye hydrated. In other cases, it is possible for the eye to produce enough tears, but for these tears to lack at least one of three essential building blocks that allow the tear to spread over, stick to and hydrate the eye.”
A person may develop dry eye syndrome as a result of hormonal changes or illnesses like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Various medications are also known to trigger dry eye symptoms.
Artificial tears are generally the most effective solution for dry eye symptoms. These special eye drops are built specifically to imitate real tears. Artificial tears come in a number of different formulations, with some helping to reduce the shortage of real tears being produced by your eyes, and others assisting by adding essential building blocks to your eyes which are lacking in the tears being produced.
Knowing which type of artificial tears you need may be difficult, but your eye doctor in Eugene, OR will be able to help you understand your form of dry eye syndrome and which artificial tears will work best for you.
For questions and more information, consult Dr. Phillips today.