Production of tears in the eyes is a necessary biological activity as it helps in providing a clear vision while maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye. However, when the production becomes inadequate and the eyes are not lubricated enough, it results in a condition called keratoconjunctivitis sicca, more popularly known as dry eye syndrome or dry eyes. Dry eye symptoms are easily recognizable. The top five symptoms include:
- Burning eyes: The eyes experience a burning sensation when exposed to dry air (usually indoor heating is the culprit), wind, allergies, and pollutants such as dust and smoke. Even arid climates can cause this dry eye symptom. In addition, those who constantly use eye make-up, work in hazardous work environments without proper eye protection, or sit in front of a computer screen for long hours can also experience this symptom of dry eyes. Eye strain and eye irritation may also contribute to sore, burning eyes.
- Scratchiness: The eyes experience scratchiness due to the decrease in the production of tears. This dry eye symptom occurs with advancement in age and affects both men and women. Additionally, certain drugs and medication also lead to this symptom of dry eyes because they reduce tear production. Suffering from this dry eye symptom after LASIK is a common phenomenon, though how long it lasts varies from person to person.
- Sensitivity to light: Intolerance of light or photophobia is also a dry eye symptom. However, photophobia could also indicate another problem such as an inflammation that can irritate the eyes or underlying diseases such as a viral infection, severe headaches, or migraine.
- Excess tearing: Sounds strange but it is true. Dry eyes often lead to excess tearing. This dry eye symptom makes the eyes uncomfortable, which gets stimulated to produce too many tears.
- Difficulty while wearing contact lenses: This symptom of dry eyes can develop due to long term use of contact lenses.
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