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How Do I Know If I Have Dry Eyes?

Just because dry eye syndrome sounds straightforward doesn’t mean everyone with occasional dry eyes actually has this condition. If you’re curious about what chronic dry eyes symptoms and signs include, and what to expect in terms of how long for dry eyes to heal, this post is for you. Here are some more information and eye health care tips, if you are in fact suffering from dry eyes. 


Chronic dry eyes symptoms and signs


Eye dryness isn’t the only indication of dry eye syndrome. Here are some of the other most common, associated symptoms: 

  • A burning sensation 
  • Watery eyes (as counterintuitive as it sounds)
  • Redness 
  • Eye fatigue
  • Light sensitivity
  • Sensitivity with contact lenses
  • Blurry or fluctuating vision
  • Sore eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • A feeling of “grittiness” in the eyes
  • Aching sensations 


Am I at risk? 


Dry eye is a condition that impacts more than 23 million people in the United States and is on the rise, due to increased use of computers, tablets and other electronic devices. In the past, it has been mostly associated with patients over 50 and women more than men but as mentioned, dry eye is becoming more and more common with younger people. 


If you live in a hot, dry climate (hello, Arizona!), wear contact lenses or take certain medications, you are more likely to suffer from dry eye syndrome. You also may be at an increased risk if you use computers often or fly regularly. But above all, the natural aging process contributes most to dry eye. 


Diagnosis & treatments


If you think you may have dry eyes, it’s important to get an evaluation. When you come into Horizon for an exam, you’ll first be asked to take our dry eye questionnaire. Then, our doctors will use Lipiview interferometry to measure the lipid content of your tear film and evaluate your blinking patterns. This will be followed by some further testing, including Tear Osmolarity, Inflammadry tests to determine the presence of inflammation and Oculus keratograph to detect gland loss and measure your tear breakup time.


Once all this testing is completed, your eye doctor will be able to tell you with certainty whether you have dry eye syndrome, along with the severity. They will then discuss eye health care tips and treatment options


Here are a few: 

  • Tear-stimulating drugs
  • Special contact lenses
  • Unblocking of oil glands (most successfully with a procedure we use called Lipiflow)
  • Eyelid massage
  • Utilization of light therapy
  • Medications
  • Drugs to reduce eye inflammation
  • Eye drops to control cornea inflammation
  • Eye inserts that work like artificial tears
  • Eye drops made from your own blood
  • A minor procedure with punctal plugs


This may seem like an overwhelming list, but our dry eyes specialists will be able to tell you which of these treatments (or what combination of them) will be best for your eyes. They will also be able to give you an estimate of what to expect regarding how long for dry eyes to heal. 

Chronic dry eye can cause inflammation and even scar the surface of your eye, which can affect the outcome of LASIK or cataract eye surgeries and contribute to other problems. Because of this, we invite you to schedule an eye exam soon and discuss your concerns with our doctors.