Photo Credit: Man Ray Trust/Artists Rights Society
Whether it’s from birth control pills, sleeping drugs, long hours in front of computer screens, or aging, more and more people are complaining of dry eyes. Some 3.2 million American women over age 50 struggle with the problem. Fewer tears may not sound like a big deal, but severe dry eyes can cause scarring of the cornea, leading to a loss of vision. Dry-eye symptoms include:
1. Stinging, burning, or a scratchy sensation.
2. A sense of something stuck in your eye.
3. Excess mucus in or around your eyes.
4. Increased irritation and tearing from bright light, smoke, or wind.
5. Eye fatigue after short periods of reading.
The easiest way to treat dry eyes is with over-the-counter artificial tears. But you should schedule an eye appointment first to see if you can narrow down the cause. Sometimes a change in medication will solve the problem; in other cases, surgery to correct an eyelid abnormality may be necessary. If symptoms persist, cyclosporine—the only prescription drug approved to treat dry eyes—may help.