Dry eye is a condition where the eyes fail to produce enough tears or only produce low-quality tears. Tears are vital for good eye health. Dry eye causes symptoms such as grittiness, the sensation of sand in the eye, eye redness, and irritation. Many people suffer from the condition, which can be minor or severe depending on the individual and the cause. Getting treatment can help relieve the symptoms.
Untreated, dry eye can cause conjunctiva inflammation or conjunctivitis. The conjunctiva is the clear layer covering the inner eyelid surface and the white of the eye. Symptoms of the condition include eye redness, a gritty eye sensation, and light sensitivity.
It differs from the more common bacterial conjunctivitis, which is mild and does not usually require treatment. If you experience inflammation that fails to improve, visit an eye doctor.
A complication of chronic dry eye is a corneal ulcer, an open sore that forms on the cornea. The cornea is the protective, clear layer over the eye. Tears help wash away dirt particles and debris that get into the eye.
For people with dry eyes, the debris can remain in the eye and cause injury. Rubbing the eyes causes friction, and the debris can scratch the cornea surface. Bacteria getting into the scratch can lead to the development of an infection that can cause an ulcer.
If dry eye is not treated, it can become impossible to wear contact lenses. If your eyes do not produce tears, they can become even dryer if you insert lenses. It can lead to redness, irritation, and a gritty sensation.
When eyes are dry, contact lenses can stick to the eyeball, making them difficult to remove. Lenses need moisture to ensure comfortable wear. If you have chronic dry eye, you may need to stick to eyeglasses.
While the reason is unclear, studies show a connection between headaches and dry eye. Failing to treat dry eye can lead to frequent headaches. People who get migraines frequently are more likely to experience dry eyes.
Chronic headaches can make it difficult to perform simple tasks, concentrate on work, or enjoy your life. They can affect productivity in school and at work. Treating dry eye can help reduce headaches.
Studies show that untreated dry eye can affect emotional health. There is a relationship between dry eye and depression. Individuals with dry eyes are more likely to experience anxiety, negative moods, and psychological stress.
Research also shows some antidepressant medications can cause eye dryness. The condition can reduce the patient’s ability to be involved in activities, leading to depression and anxiety.
Chronic dry eye is relatively common, especially as people get older. Failing to treat the condition can make it difficult to read or drive. The condition can cause blurry vision, which can worsen to double vision.
Severe or chronic dry eye can make it hard to keep the eyes open, making it difficult to perform tasks. The eye doctor can recommend treatment options to relieve dry eye symptoms and prevent complications.
For more on what happens if dry eye is not treated, visit Spectacles at our office in Jackson, Mississippi. Call (601) 398-4662 to book an appointment today.