Sometimes, watery eyes can actually be a symptom of dry eyes, as the body produces excessive tears in response to the dryness and irritation.
If your eyes constantly feel dry, gritty or sandy, you may suffer from dry eye syndrome. Other symptoms include red, irritated or sore eyes, and difficulty wearing contact lenses. Sometimes, watery eyes can actually be a symptom of dry eyes, as the body produces excessive tears in response to the dryness and irritation.
Dry eyes are caused when the eyes cannot produce enough ‘normal’ tears, or when tears evaporate quickly because of a problem with the ‘tear film’. There are a number of reasons why this might occur.
Factors that contribute to Dry Eye
Age and gender: As we age, our eyes produce fewer tears, which is why dry eyes affect around 75% of all people aged over 65. Gender is also a factor, with women more likely to suffer than men. Women may also suffer as a result of hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, lactation, menstruation and menopause.
Using a computer: People who use a computer tend to blink less frequently than normal and this can cause increased evaporation of tears, and leading to dry eyes. Positioning your monitor below eye level can help, as it allows the upper eyelid to cover more of the eye’s surface. Being aware of blink rate, air circulation and glare can also help.
Wearing contact lenses: Dry eye is the leading cause of contact lens irritation. It is most common among soft contact lens wearers, and can cause irritation, protein deposits and red eyes.
Use of some medications: There are some medications that can lead to dry eye symptoms. If you use decongestants, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, oral contraceptives, antidepressants or eye drops for ‘red eyes’, these may contribute to your symptoms.
Diseases: Diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, asthma, thyroid disease and lupus can all lead to dry eyes. Sjögren’s Syndrome is the name given to the combination of symptoms that includes dry eyes, dry mouth and arthritis.
Inflammation of eyelid glands & eyelash follicles: Inflammation of the eyelid glands (called meibornian glands) and eyelash follicles can compromise the quality of the tear film, which causes tears to evaporate more quickly. This is sometimes caused by over-growth of bacteria normally found on the eyelids. If this is the case, it can often be treated with warm compresses, good eyelid hygiene and sometimes, special antibiotics.
Because there are so many different causes of dry eyes, your treatment will depend on your individual symptoms, and the cause of your condition. Most treatments involve either replacing tears, or reducing tear drainage.
To find out more about this condition and how we can help please contact us.