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Can Dry Eye Cause Blurry Vision?
Yes! Dry eye causes blurry vision in many people. Patients are often surprised to learn this because dry eye does not seem like a very serious problem. However, depending on the severity of your dry eye, it can reduce your vision. So, how do you know if your blurry vision is from your dry eye? Here are some signs that your blurry vision could be caused by your dry eye. If you start using the computer and can see clearly, but after one or two hours your vision becomes blurry, this could be related to dry eye. A similar situation could also happen if you are reading, studying or looking into a microscope. This is because anytime a person does a focused visual task, they are less likely to blink. As a person's blink rate goes down, the tear film is not being spread across the surface of the eye. Try keeping a bottle of artificial tears next to your computer, and use the tears periodically throughout your work day. This may help to improve your blurry vision. If you notice that you need to blink in order to see clearly, your eye may be dry. Sometimes a person may need to blink several times in order for their vision to become clear. This is likely due to dry eye. Patients who wear contact lenses are more likely to have dry eye and subsequent blurry vision from it. Switching to daily contacts can help and also using preservative free artificial tears can help.LASIK and PRK can cause long term dry eye in patients. Patients may think that their vision correction surgery is no longer working, but in many cases it may just be dry eye. If you are someone that has surgery to correct your vision, you may need to use artificial tears on a long term basis. In order to understand how dry eye causes blurry vision, it is important to discuss the tear film. The tear film of the eye is the first surface that light hits when it it is entering the eye. It is the first refractive surface of the eye. Refraction is the part of the eye exam when a doctor measures the prescription in your glasses. If this refractive surface is not intact, it can affect how you see. It is estimated that nearly 80% of how well you see is determined by the tear film and the front part of the cornea. The cornea is the front part of the eye. When the tear film does not function as it should, dry eye is the result. In fact, eye doctors may measure tear film breakup time in order to figure out if a patient has dry eye. Tear film break up time means the amount of time it takes the tear film to dissipate or break up. When the tear film breaks up, it no longer provides a smooth surface for light to enter. Blurry vision from dry eye is not uncommon. If your vision improves after artificial tears, it is likely that dry eye is contributing to your poor vision. However, not all blurry vision is from dry eye. Therefore, if you are having blurry vision, it is important to see an ophthalmologist. When an ophthalmologist evaluates you, they can determine the cause of your blurry vision. In many cases, blurry vision could caused by dry eye and another medical issue. For this reason, be sure to see an ophthalmologist to have a complete eye exam. Sources:Conrady CD, Joos ZP, Patel BC. Review: The Lacrimal Gland and Its Role in Dry Eye. J Ophthalmol. 2016;2016:7542929. doi: 10.1155/2016/7542929. Epub 2016 Mar 2. PMID: 27042343; PMCID: PMC4793137.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27042343/Tellez-Vazquez J. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation improves dry eye symptoms in patients with glaucoma: results of a prospective multicenter study. Clin Ophthalmol. 2016 Apr 5;10:617-26. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S96433. PMID: 27103781; PMCID: PMC4827597.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27103781/Fernández-Jimenez E, Diz-Arias E, Peral A. Improving ocular surface comfort in contact lens wearers. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2022 Jun;45(3):101544. doi: 10.1016/j.clae.2021.101544. Epub 2021 Nov 25. PMID: 34840071.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34840071/
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Does Air Conditioning Cause Dry Eyes?
Many people wonder what environmental factors can affect the health of their eyes. Air conditioning does not cause dry eyes, but there is evidence to show that it can aggravate it or make it worse. Worsening of dry eye symptoms was seen with people who spent more time indoors with their air conditioning on. If the air is more dry and less humid, this can also make dry eye worse. If you are using air conditioning in your car or your home, be sure that there the air is not blowing directly at your face. It is the mechanical blowing that would cause the tears from your eyes to evaporate faster rather than the actual cooling component of the air. Similar to this, very windy conditions can also aggravate dry eyes. Some people are more sensitive to dry eyes than others. For these individuals, they may notice that certain triggers make their dry eye worse. Dry eye symptoms such as tearing and the need to blink frequently in order to see clearly are common among dry eye sufferers. Treating dry eye depends on using artificial tears and also on avoiding situations that may make the symptoms of dry eye worse. Other situations that can make dry eye worse are moving air, low humidity environments, pollution, and focused visual activities such as watching TV or reading a book or tablet. For dry eye patients who spend several hours a day in an office or setting where the air conditioning will be on, it is likely that their symptoms will become worse. In order to help this situation, there are a few things that you can do. The first is to take a break from your environment. If you are able to, take a walk outside to get out of the air conditioning. This may be especially helpful in humid climates where a walk outside in a high-humidity environment can help to ease the dryness. Another easy way to combat dry eye that is happening indoors is to keep a vial of artificial tears by your desk or computer. Remember to use artificial tears every few hours. It is better to use artificial tears before you start to experience dryness rather than waiting until your symptoms become extreme. Finally, if you can not modify your environment (meaning, you can't turn the air conditioning off), then you should think about modifying your activities. If you work in an office where the air conditioning is making your eye dryness worse, then using the computer for several hours a day is also going to have a negative affect. In this case, try to also take screen breaks. This allows your eyes to blink normally and will likely make them less dry. While air conditioning does not *cause dry eyes, it can make it worse. Many people can be in air conditioning without any issues. But, for patients who are more susceptible to having dry eye, air conditioning can cause a worsening or an aggravation of symptoms. Modifying your environment and using artificial tears can help to combat the symptoms of dry eye.Sources:Starr CE, Dana R, Pflugfelder SC, Holland EJ, Zhang S, Owen D, Brazzell K. Dry eye disease flares: A rapid evidence assessment. Ocul Surf. 2021 Oct;22:51-59. doi: 10.1016/j.jtos.2021.07.001. Epub 2021 Jul 22. PMID: 34303844.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34303844/Talens-Estarelles C, García-Marqués JV, Cerviño A, García-Lázaro S. Dry Eye-Related Risk Factors for Digital Eye Strain. Eye Contact Lens. 2022 Oct 1;48(10):410-415. doi: 10.1097/ICL.0000000000000923. Epub 2022 Jul 8. PMID: 36155946.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36155946/García-Marqués JV, Talens-Estarelles C, García-Lázaro S, Wolffsohn JS, Cerviño A. Systemic, environmental and lifestyle risk factors for dry eye disease in a mediterranean caucasian population. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2022 Oct;45(5):101539. doi: 10.1016/j.clae.2021.101539. Epub 2021 Nov 14. PMID: 34789408.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34789408/
4 min read
Best Eye Drops For Dry Eye Treatment
The best eye drops for dry eye treatment in most people are artificial tears. If your dry eye is more severe, you may require more than just artificial tears. Artificial tears are exactly what the name suggests. In addition to your body's natural tear production, artificial tears can help to moisten and lubricate your eyes. This can help to relieve dry eye symptoms like stinging, burning, gritty sensation, or feeling like something is in the eye. Artificial tears can be bought at a drug store or online without a prescription. Picking the best artificial tear eye drop can be challenging. There are many different types of drops that treat different types of dry eye. Some drops are over the counter and some require a prescription. Prescription eye drops for dry eye are used in cases of severe dry eye. If you have mild dry eye, start with an over-the-counter artificial tear. You can use it up to 4 times a day in each eye. Two of our favorite dry eye drop brands are Systane and Thera Tears. Both of these options have preservatives in them. Preservatives are well tolerated by most people but not all. Preservatives help prevent bacterial growth in eye drop bottles. However, these preservatives can irritate some people's eyes and symptoms worse.There are two reasons to switch to preservative-free tears. The first reason is that you are not tolerating the dry eye drop. The second reason is that you feel that you need to put the drop inside the eye more than 4 times a day. If you want to use a dry eye drop 6 times a day or even every hour, it is a good idea to switch to preservative-free artificial tears. Preservative-free dry eye drops usually come in packs of 25 or 30 individual vials. They tend to be more expensive than dry eyd drops that have preservatives. If preservative-free artificial tears are not enough for your symptoms, you can discuss adding treatment with your doctor. The next step after artificial tears includes adding a gel tear or eye ointment at night. Gel tears are thicker than artificial tears. Although they are more useful for moderate dry eye, they can take time to work. One of the downsides to gel tears is that when you put them into the eye, they are so thick that they cause blurry vision. This is why you should take gel tears are night. Gel tears are also readily available online. Some of the same brands that make regular artificial tears also make gel tears. Our favorite brands of gel tears areRemember that dry eye treatment is additive. This means that gel tears do not replace the artificial tears you are taking during the day. You will add gel tears to your regimen at night. After gel tears, your doctor may suggest prescription eye drops like Restasis, Xiidra, or Cequa. These drops can take up to 3 months to start working, so you will need to be patients when expecting results. Another problem with these drops is that without insurance, these drops can be very expensive, and some insurances may not cover them at all. Other common dry eye therapies include blepharitis treatment, since untreated blepharitis can make dry eye worse, and punctal plugs. Punctal plugs can be very effective for some patients with dry eye and they are usually covered by insurance. Infrequent blinking, which usually happens when looking at a computer screen for long stretches of time, is a major cause of dry eye. Dry eye can also be caused by contact lenses, a dusty or dry surrounding environment, or as a side effect of other medicines you may be taking. Some medical diseases can also cause dry eyes. These conditions include allergies, hormonal disorders (thyroid, diabetes), autoimmune disorders such as Sjogren’s syndrome, Lupus, and Rheumatoid Arthritis, conditions that cause eye inflammation, and nutrient deficiencies (essential fatty acids, Vitamin A), and dehydration.Visine eye drops are more useful for making a red eye appear white. Some generic versions of Visine may be labeled as "red eye relief." It is important to note that eye drops that make the eye look white are typically not artificial tears. In many situations, some drops that instantly get rid of red eye can cause what is known as "rebound redness." This is when the redness immediately returns after a short period of time when the medication has worn off. This is because these eye drops temporarily constrict the blood vessels in your eyes so that the vessels appear smaller. If your eye redness is from dry eyes, it is a better idea to use artificial tears and dry eye treatment to actually get to the root of the problem. The best eye drops for mild dry eye is a preservative-free artificial tear. The downside is that it can be more expensive. Preservative-free drops have fewer additives, and thus can be used much more frequently: up to every 1 to 2 hours. If your dry eye is very severe, you will need to add more treatment. Treatment for very severe dry eye usually involves artificial tears, a supplement, lid hygiene and prescription medication. Sources:https://www.aao.orghttps://www.mayoclinic.orghttps://eyewiki.aao.org
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