Have you ever experienced a gritty, burning sensation in your eyes that just wouldn’t go away? This could be a sign of chronic dry eye. Other symptoms include itching, stinging, eye fatigue, redness, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light. While dry eye may seem irritating but harmless, it can cause long-term damage to your eyes. Read on to learn more about chronic dry eye and how it can affect your eye health and vision.  

What is chronic dry eye?  

Chronic dry eye is a condition that happens when your eyes don’t produce enough tears, or your tears don’t work correctly. There are many potential causes of dry eye, including aging, hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause, medical conditions, and environmental factors like spending too much time in front of screens. While chronic dry eye doesn’t have a cure, treatment can help manage your symptoms.  

What happens if you don’t treat chronic dry eye?  

If left untreated, chronic dry eye can damage the eyes and lead to complications, including eye infections, damage to the cornea, and corneal ulcers.  

Eye infections 

Tears help wash away dirt and germs and keep your eyes healthy and free of infection. When your eyes are dry, bacteria and other harmful substances can stick to the surface of your eyes, leading to eye infections.  

Cornea damage 

The cornea, or the clear outer layer at the front of your eye, requires tears to stay healthy. When you have chronic dry eye, the cornea can become dry and inflamed, resulting in a condition known as keratopathy.  

Corneal ulcers 

Corneal ulcers are open sores that can form on the surface of your cornea. They can be painful and can lead to vision loss if left untreated. In severe cases, dry eye can even damage the surface of your eye, causing scarring and permanent vision loss. 

How do you treat chronic dry eye?  

Fortunately, there are many ways to treat chronic dry eye. Treatment options can vary depending on how serious your condition is and what’s causing it. For mild cases, making a few lifestyle changes like using a humidifier and taking breaks from screens may be enough to relieve your symptoms. You can also use over-the-counter artificial tears or lubricating eye drops. If other treatments don’t work, your eye doctor may suggest therapy or surgery.  

Don’t let chronic dry eyes go untreated! If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms, give us a call today to schedule an appointment and let us help you find a solution! 

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