It doesn’t matter if you feel sad, happy, or any other emotion — your eyes continue to produce tears to keep their outer layer moist and well-lubricated. However, if your eyes feel itchy, irritated, or there’s something stuck in your eye, you might have dry eye syndrome. Like most eye-related conditions, medical attention is required so you can receive the necessary treatment and relieve symptoms.
Short Answer: It Depends
Dry eyes can be temporary. This is especially true if it is a result of prolonged exposure to screens, overuse of contact lenses, or being in a cold and dry environment. Taking a long break after a period of looking at your mobile phone or computer screen or going out of an air conditioned room should help relieve symptoms. The same can be said if you stop taking certain medications that’s causing the symptoms to occur in the first place.
However, many people experience chronic dry eyes, which means the condition never goes away completely. The good news is that the symptoms can be managed through long-term treatment. This specific diagnosis may also be in relation to other health conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and diabetes.
How to Deal With Dry Eye Symptoms
If you have dry eyes, there are simple lifestyle changes you can do to manage symptoms. These include:
- Drinking plenty of water so your body can produce tears.
- Installing a humidifier to add moisture to the cool, dry air in your home, especially during the winter season.
- Adjusting your monitor to below eye level while working on your computer or laptop to minimize eye strain.
- Blinking as often as you can while reading or working in front of a computer.
A variety of treatment options are available to help you manage dry eyes. Artificial tears and other over-the-counter eye drops help lubricate the front of your eyes, but they don’t actually treat the actual cause of the dry eyes. Your eye doctor may also recommend installing punctal plugs, which are tiny devices placed in the eyes’ puncta or tear ducts. They stop fluid from draining from the eye, ensuring the eyes’ surface remains moist and comfortable and relieving the redness or itchiness associated with dry eye.
As for severe cases of dry eye syndrome, eye care professionals recommend other procedures. Minor gland salivary autotransplant, for instance, involves transplanting a salivary gland beneath the jaw to a spot near the temple. This is a relatively new procedure and is reserved for individuals with severe dry eyes who haven’t gotten any relief from traditional treatments.
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