As we all know, our eyes are constantly lubricated by the tears from tear glands to keep them moist and hydrated. This helps to protect the eyes by washing away the dust particles, provides oxygen and nutrition to the cornea and prevents infections. When tears produced by the eyes are insufficient then you could end up with dry eyes. Some common causes include:
* Age: As we get older, the tear production diminishes, leaving the eye too dry.
* Diseases including diabetes, Sjogren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis or Parkinson's.
* Hormonal changes, especially after menopause
* As a side-effect of certain prescription medications.
* Hot, dry or windy conditions: High altitude, air-conditioning, cold weather, and smoke can also cause dry eyes.
* Frequent usage of computers and hours of television watching or too much reading.
* Some contact lenses users can experience dry eyes when their contacts seem to work against moisturization.
* An eye injury or other problems with your eyes or eyelids
* Vitamin A deficiency or insomnia can also lead to dry eyes.
* Eye surgeries for vision correction like LASIK also can aggravate dry eye.
Although dry eyes may not cause much damage, it is in your own interest to consult your doctor if there are prolonged signs and symptoms of dry eyes. Your ophthalmologist or eye doctor can check for dry eye by examining your eyes, pinpoint the exact cause and suggest appropriate medications and treatment.
The following self care measures will help:
* Drink plenty of water.
* Protect the eyes from harsh weather conditions like wind and dust.
* Avoid smoking and second hand smoke.
* Use a humidifier, especially in the winter.
* Make sure the medications that you are taking are not causing dry eyes.
* Eat healthy food with nutrients like vitamin A, C and E and those containing omega-3 fatty acids.
Keep taking a break and blinking often when your are watching TV, using computers or when you are indulging in eye-straining activities.
* Do not wear contact lenses for prolonged periods if that is the cause of your dry eyes.
* Get plenty of sleep.
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