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Chronic dry and red eyes develop due to a limited amount of lubricant across the surface of the eyes. Dryness at the surface of the eye often causes irritation that results in excessive redness. The inflammation can continue to worsen, leading to near constant eye pain and discomfort. Although most people experience eye dryness on occasion, it only becomes a problem when it continues for months at a time. Without intervention by an eye doctor, symptoms of chronic dry and red eyes will not go away on their own.
The symptoms usually start with dryness that makes the patient's eyes feel scratchy, especially while blinking. The scratchy sensation often continues to worsen until the affected eyes start to burn or hurt all over. Itching, soreness and sensitivity to light are all common with this condition.
Patients may also notice their eyelids feel heavy and fatigued earlier in the day than is normal. Oddly enough, patients often notice that their eyes overcompensate for chronic dryness by becoming watery, which actually does little in terms of lubrication.
Red eyes usually start as a light pink color before progressing to deep red tones. Redness may also extend around the eyelids with bumps or broken blood vessels.
If the patient has eye redness without dryness, the condition may relate back to allergies, infection or injury. Wearing dirty contacts or clean ones too long can cause redness to spread across the surface of the eyes. The cause of redness is always thoroughly investigated by optometrists to rule out serious health problems.
Dry eyes link back to conditions that reduce or eliminate proper lubrication by the tear ducts. The patient's tears may actually contain too much water and not enough oil, leading to a drying effect. Common causes include too many hours at the computer and living in environments with dry winds and heating systems.
Optometrists take a full patient history report to try to track down the main causes of the dry and red eyes. Patients may need to answer questions about their heating system at home and work, hobbies and medical history to assist in finding the cause.
Upon determining the cause, optometrists will provide patients with a treatment plan. The plan may include the use of humidifiers in indoor environments to increase moisture levels in the air. If allergies are the cause, patients can place air purifiers at their workstation and around their home to reduce allergen exposure.
Patients may need to utilize the air treatment devices for several weeks before seeing significant improvement. Allergy control medications, eye drops and other prescription treatments can help reduce symptoms and facilitate healing in the meantime.
Patients with dry and red eyes should schedule an appointment with Trinity Eye Associates in Oviedo, FL to find the cause. Patients must have an exam performed, so the eye doctor can determine the severity of the condition and find a suitable solution. To schedule an appointment call us today at 407-678-9151.