People's eyes have tear ducts and lipid glands that keep the eyes hydrated and lubricated to prevent them from becoming dry and irritated. When the tears being produced are not enough or the glands become clogged, Dry Eye occurs. Regardless of the cause, Dry Eye can cause stinging and burning that causes you to rub them. There are numerous treatments available that can help relieve these symptoms. Before treating Dry Eye with an over-the-counter treatment, you need to find out the root cause of your condition. If it is the result of Keratoconus, treating the symptoms will not be enough to improve your overall condition.
Keratoconus is a progressive condition that weakens the collagen fibers in the cornea. Symptoms can include blurred vision, seeing halos, increased loss of vision, and dry eyes. Different people with the condition suffer from varying degrees of dry eyes. Most experience some irritation and redness, while others rub their eyes excessively from the discomfort and may experience pain. The dryness can make wearing contacts difficult to impossible.
In early stages of the condition, diagnosis is often missed. Those who have it will typically get glasses or contacts for their diminished eyesight. As it progresses, they will have more significant symptoms, and corrective lenses will eventually not be enough to improve their vision. The damage that occurs prior to diagnosis cannot be reversed with Keratoconus treatments, however the symptoms can be lessened. The sooner it is diagnosed, the less damage to the individual's vision it will cause. Although there is no cure for the condition, there are treatments that can slow or halt the progression of damage so the individual can maintain better vision.
Although dry eyes may be a symptom of Keratoconus, there are also a number of other potential causes. According to the American Keratoconus Association, dry eyes may be caused by:
- Changes in medications
- Reduction in blinking the eyes
- Medical procedures
People who begin experiencing Dry Eye that doesn't go away in a short period of time should have their eyes examined to rule out any serious underlying conditions. It is important to understand that, as irritating as it can be, dry eyes are often a symptom of a worse condition. The cause of dry eyes may be simple to treat with a lifestyle change or by adjusting a new medication. The potential for the condition to be a symptom of something more serious like Keratoconus makes it imperative to look into the cause once you are experiencing it.
Over-the-counter drops may be all that is needed to alleviate dry eyes if they are experienced only short-term. However, if your condition persists you must have an evaluation. Artificial tears are not a permanent solution to any persistent case of Dry Eye. Instead of using these products to self-medicate, see an eye doctor to learn the cause of your dry eyes and to talk about the best treatment options for your condition.