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Dry Eye

How to Get Rid of Eyelash Mites

How to Get Rid of Eyelash Mites 640What if we told you that there are tiny critters living on your face? Would you believe it?

The truth is that just about every person on earth has Demodex mites living in their facial pores.

But before you run to the bathroom sink and start scrubbing your cheeks, read on to learn what these microscopic mites are, and how they can affect your eyes.

What are Demodex Mites?

Demodex mites are tiny 8-legged arachnids that make their home in the pores and hair follicles of your face. Fortunately, they’re too small to see with the naked eye, measuring only 0.4 mm long.

There are 2 types of Demodex mites: Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis. Both types can be found all over the face, but Demodex folliculorum mites tend to concentrate around the eyelash area.

Demodex mites live inside hair follicles, where they feed on dead skin cells and oily sebum that is secreted onto the hair shaft. That’s why they’re found in higher numbers around greasier areas of the body, like the eyes and nose.

The mites come out of the hair follicle at night to mate and then return in the morning. For this reason, symptoms of a Demodex infestation may be worse in the morning.

Demodex mites can be transferred from one host to another through facial skin or hair contact. They can also be introduced to a new host through shared makeup and cosmetics.

Having a small amount of Demodex mites seems to be harmless, but an overgrowth of mites — called “demodicosis” — can cause a host of symptoms affecting the eyes and other areas of the face. A Demodex infestation can also exacerbate pre-existing skin conditions like rosacea and acne.

How Can Demodex Mites Affect Your Eyes?

Too many Demodex mites can cause uncomfortable symptoms that may include:

  • Itchy or burning eyes, especially in the morning
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Crusty eyes
  • Red, irritated eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred or decreased vision
  • Falling eyelashes
  • Infected eyes

If you experience a yellowish discharge on your eyelashes mainly in the mornings, this could be a sign of a Demodex mite infestation.

Severe cases of demodicosis can lead to blepharitis — an inflammation of the eyelids. Blepharitis often leads to an inflammation of the cornea called keratitis, a serious condition that can lead to blindness if left untreated.

Risk Factors For Demodicosis

You’re more likely to have a Demodex mite outbreak if you:

  • Have oily skin
  • Wear makeup
  • Sleep overnight without properly removing makeup
  • Have poor personal hygiene

Some pre-existing conditions that increase the possibility of a Demodex outbreak include:

  • A weakened immune system
  • Alopecia
  • Inflammatory acne
  • Dermatitis

Your Dry Eye Optometrist Can Help

The good news is that Dr. Fuerst or Dr. Gittins can provide safe and effective treatment for your demodicosis.

Because Demodex mites are so small, they’re impossible to diagnose on your own. Only a comprehensive eye exam can determine the source of your symptoms.

Treatment for a Demodex mite infestation typically involves a medicated ointment that can prevent the mites from reproducing. In severe cases, oral medication may be prescribed. Your eye doctor may also manually clean the margins of your eyelids or recommend over-the-counter products that can help soothe irritation and promote healing.

If you suspect you have demodicosis or experience any of the symptoms listed above, contact Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric to schedule an eye exam.

Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric serves patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

 

Warm Compresses Can Relieve Dry Eye

protect your eyes 640x350What Is Dry Eye?

Our tears are made up of water and oil layers. Dry eye (also known as dry eye syndrome) occurs when the eyelids’ meibomian glands do not secrete enough natural oil into the tears. This causes the eyes to become dry, itchy, red, and painful. Environmental conditions like dry or windy air, and staring at a screen or book for a long time, can also dry out your eyes.

Here’s What To Do About It

One of the best ways to make dry, irritated eyes feel refreshed is with a warm compress. A warm compress will open the oil glands and soften oil blockages, allowing oil to flow into the tears. Wet a clean washcloth or place it in a microwave for 20 seconds. Touch it to your wrist to make sure it’s not too hot, then place the compress on your closed eyelids for a few minutes while tilting your head back or reclining. When the compress cools, reheat and repeat.

Compresses slow the evaporation of tears. Their warm moisture provides relief by stabilizing the eyes’ tear film and improving the meibomian glands’ production of oil. With your eyes now hydrated and lubricated, they can also expel bacteria more efficiently.

Certain prescription eye drops also address dry eye, and steroids can provide relief. Others provide additional lubrication. Please consult with Dr. Fuerst or Dr. Gittins, who can recommend or prescribe the best drops for your eyes.

Other home remedies include:

  • An air filter to eliminate irritants
  • A humidifier to increase moisture in the air and decrease evaporation of your tears
  • Drinking water to stay hydrated
  • Wearing sunglasses to deflect ultraviolet rays and wind that dry the eyes

Please Keep the Following in Mind:

  • Don’t make the compresses or washcloths too hot.
  • Use a different compress for each eye to prevent spreading an infection between the eyes.
  • We recommend lightly cleaning with a swab or cloth, then wetting and wiping your eyelids several times each day. Doing so can prevent bacteria from entering your eyes.

If you are experiencing dry eye, please bring it to our attention. Untreated, dry eye can sometimes cause corneal abrasions or ulcers, inflammation, and even vision impairment.

 

 

At Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric, Dr. Fuerst or Dr. Gittins will treat patients with dry eye from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

References:

 

Is Your Job Placing You at a Higher Risk For Dry Eye?

Higher Risk For Dry Eye 640Dry eye symptoms such as red, watery, stinging eyes can negatively affect your work. But could your work environment actually be causing or exacerbating your symptoms? Recent research shows that where you work can heighten your risk of developing dry, irritated eyes.

Which Work Environments Increase Your Risk of Developing Dry Eye Symptoms?

Offices

Several factors appear to contribute to dry eyes. In fact, a survey of American and European office employees found that a third suffered from dry eye symptoms.

Research has shown that prolonged physical inactivity and staring at computer monitors increases a person’s susceptibility to developing dry eye syndrome.

Staring at a computer screen can reduce the number of times a person blinks by 30%. That’s problematic because blinking is essential for lubricating the eyes and keeping the protective tear film that covers the eye intact. If you find your eyes becoming irritated or uncomfortable at work, try blinking more, especially while using the computer and reading.

The humidity level of the air in the office also plays a role. Overuse of air conditioning and heating can cause the air to become dry, increasing the rate of tear evaporation. Having insufficient tears is a leading cause of dry eye symptoms. If you find that your work environment is too dry, try using a humidifier to add some moisture back into the air.

The Great Outdoors

Certain outdoor jobs can expose the eyes to eye-drying elements like wind, debris, and direct sunlight. Wind and heat can cause the eye’s tear film to prematurely evaporate, leaving the eye unprotected and susceptible to dryness.

Other factors that contribute to dry eye syndrome include pollution and exposure to harmful UV rays. Outdoor workers such as construction workers, farmers, and lifeguards should always use protective eyewear while working.

How Your Dry Eye Optometrist Can Help

Dry eye symptoms can range from mildly bothersome to debilitating. A comprehensive eye exam with Dr. Fuerst or Dr. Gittins will determine the underlying cause of your symptoms so the most effective treatment can be offered.

Relief from dry eye symptoms extends far beyond the options available at the drugstore. If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms of any degree, contact Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric to discover how you can achieve long-lasting relief. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric serves patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

Managing Dry Eye Symptoms While Enjoying the Outdoors

couple on a field of flowers 640As the weather gets warmer and Covid-19 restrictions gradually ease, many people want to spend as much time outdoors as possible. But for those with chronic dry eye syndrome, uncomfortable symptoms may deter them from enjoying Mother Nature. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Grittiness
  • Watery eyes
  • Irritated or burning eyes
  • Blurred vision

While the only sure way to diagnose and treat your eye condition is having an eye exam with Dr. Fuerst or Dr. Gittins, the following tips may offer some relief until your next appointment — especially while you’re spending time in the open air.

Always Bring Along a Water Bottle

A dehydrated body can mean dehydrated eyes. Drinking plenty of water can help your eyes produce the healthy amount of tears needed to maintain lubrication. Even if you are spending time in a humid environment, be sure to drink water or other hydrating fluids. Try to avoid alcoholic beverages and sugary drinks, as they can be dehydrating and exacerbate dry eye symptoms.

Pack Some Lubricating Eye Drops

One of the main causes of dry eye syndrome is insufficient or poor quality tears. Lubricating eye drops, also known as artificial tears, can compensate for the lack of tears and offer temporary relief. The drops’ tiny containers make them travel-friendly and perfect for almost any outdoor activity. There are many kinds of eye drops on the market, but Dr. Fuerst or Dr. Gittins can recommend or prescribe the most suitable type for your eyes.

Wear Protective Eyewear

Exposure to the elements can leave your eyes feeling dry and uncomfortable. Wearing protective eyewear, such as sports goggles or wrap-around sunglasses, can protect your eyes from harsh winds, debris in the air, and sunlight. Even a light breeze can strip the eyes of their protective tear film and accelerate the rate of evaporation.

Visit Your Dry Eye Optometrist

While the above recommendations can provide temporary relief, a dry eye evaluation with Dr. Fuerst or Dr. Gittins can help identify and treat the underlying cause of your symptoms. Dr. Fuerst or Dr. Gittins will recommend the latest and most effective dry eye treatments for long-lasting relief and optimal comfort. If you or a loved one is suffering from dry eye syndrome, call Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric to schedule your consultation today.

Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric serves patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

Ever Wonder What Causes Eye Twitching?

Dry Eye Africam American Man 640×350Many of us have experienced an involuntary eyelid spasm but didn’t give it much thought. These eyelid spasms, or twitches, are a repetitive and involuntary spasm of the muscles in the eyelids. The twitch most frequently occurs in the upper eyelid, but can occasionally occur in both upper and lower eyelids.

The twitch sensation is generally painless and harmless. It can be caused by several factors and rarely indicates a more serious underlying condition. One condition, however, that can contribute to eyelid twitching is dry eye syndrome (DES). Below, we’ll briefly explain DES and how it can trigger eyelid twitching.

What Is DES?

Dry eye syndrome is characterized by the chronic lack of sufficient ocular lubrication and can be caused by allergies, irritants, and insufficient or poor quality tears. Some symptoms of dry eye include:

  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Grittiness
  • Stinging or burning sensation

If you suspect you have DES or experience any of the above symptoms, speak with Dr. Fuerst or Dr. Gittins about finding relief and regaining the quality of life you seek.

How Is Eyelid Twitching Related To DES?

When the eyes lack lubrication, the nervous system compensates by increasing the eyes’ blink rate to try and refresh the tear film. If the brain sends too many signals to increase the blink rate, the eyelid’s muscles may begin to twitch due to the overload of signals fired from the brain. Eventually, as the eyelid muscles become more fatigued from the excess blinking, twitching becomes more noticeable and irritating.

What Can Be Done To Ease Symptoms?

Eyelid twitching can be bothersome and can even interfere with performing daily tasks. Though twitching episodes usually subside after a minute or two, there are some steps you can take to shorten their duration or eliminate them altogether.

Try using lubricating eye drops to bring some moisture back to your eyes, thus reducing the signals sent to the nervous system to increase the blink rate. Dr. Fuerst or Dr. Gittins can recommend which over-the-counter drops best suit your eyes’ needs, or prescribe more potent eye drops.

Try gently massaging your closed upper eyelids to suppress the twitching when it occurs. The light pressure can help relax the surrounding muscles. You can also apply a warm eye compress when the lid is twitching or whenever your eyes feel irritated.

Additionally, if you experience twitching or cramping in other muscles, such as in your legs, taking some magnesium may help reduce the frequency of the spasms.

How We Can Help

Mild eyelid spasms and twitches are generally not something to be concerned about, unless they are prolonged, frequent, or distract you from your normal routine. At Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric, we aim to provide you with relief from any dry eye symptoms using the latest treatments available. If you or a loved one suffer from eye twitches or any other DES symptoms, let us help you manage your ocular condition for a lifetime of clear and comfortable vision.

Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric provides dry eye relief and other services to patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and California .

 

Your Eyes Can’t Focus? It Could Be Dry Eye!

photo of woman using laptopYou have been working on a report for weeks and your deadline is tomorrow morning. It’s the end of a long day at the office, and you need to check the numbers one more time. When you do, the figures on the spreadsheet appear blurry, and you just can’t get your eyes to focus.

But why? You recently had your eyes examined and the optometrist assured you that your current contact lens prescription is fine. What could be wrong with your eyes?

Why Can’t Your Eyes Focus?

Many patients come to us at Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric with similar complaints about eye focus problems. After examining their eyes, we often diagnose them with dry eye syndrome.

When working long hours on the computer or spending a significant amount of time staring at a mobile phone screen, the eye’s blink rate decreases significantly, causing the protective tear film that covers the eye to evaporate faster. To retain visual acuity, the tear film needs to spread smoothly and evenly over the eye surface. Insufficient fluid makes this impossible.

What is Dry Eye?

With people spending more and more hours on digital devices, the increasing prevalence of dry eye is not surprising. As mentioned earlier, dry eye occurs when tears don’t provide sufficient lubrication to the eye or are of poor quality.

Mild dry eye can affect up to 50% of the adult population in the USA, with more than 16 million adults suffering from severe dry eye.

Dry eye can be caused by infrequent blinking, hot and dry air, certain medical conditions, medications, eyelid problems, or damaged tear glands. Age is another factor, as tear production decreases with age. Long-term use of contact lenses is another possible cause. Furthermore, simply being exposed to today’s polluted air can make your eyes feel very dry.

Additional symptoms of dry eye include redness of the eyes, itchy eyes, a burning sensation in the eyes, eye fatigue, and increased sensitivity to light.

What Do Tears Have to Do With Eye Focus?

Poor tear quality can also cause blurry vision. Tears are a mixture of water, fatty oils, and mucus. If the balance is off between these three essential layers, the tears will no longer produce the necessary smooth cover over the front of the eye. Even though your eyes focus perfectly well, the uneven film of tears will distort your vision, and the numbers on your spreadsheet will appear blurry.

When your eyes can’t focus, it could be dry eye from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

How to Treat Dry Eye

Artificial tears can provide relief for mild dry eye. Make sure to use only preservative-free drops. Consult Dr. Fuerst or Dr. Gittins to get more information on the ideal treatment for your dry eyes.

We can run simple diagnostic tests to determine the cause of dry eye and evaluate your tear quality. If you wear contact lenses, the optometrist can recommend different types of lenses made from materials that retain more moisture.

Schedule an eye exam with Dr. Fuerst or Dr. Gittins at Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric today and talk to us about your focusing issues and dry eye concerns.

Visit our practice if you are from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

Home Remedies For Dry Eye

woman washing her face with water 2087954If your eyes burn, itch or feel gritty, you may have dry eye syndrome. This is typically caused by a low production of tears or low-quality tears.

Many substances and situations can cause dry eyes, such as the medication you’re taking, the time spent staring at your phone or computer without blinking, exposure to smoke or dry air, wearing contact lenses or aging. No matter the cause, it feels pretty terrible.

If you’re stuck at home and social distancing in order to keep yourself and others safe, worry not — you can still find relief from your unpleasant symptoms. In addition to using artificial tears and ocular lubricants, you may want to try these at-home remedies with products or items you may have in your cupboard.

Eyelid Wash

One way to produce higher quality tears is to keep your eyelids clean. You can do this by using a gentle cleanser, such as baby shampoo, and rubbing a small amount between your fingertips until it becomes frothy. Simply close your eyes and gently massage the soap into the base of your eyelids, right by your eyelashes, and then rinse with warm water while keeping your eyes closed.

Pay particular attention to the areas with makeup or facial creams that could enter the tear film and potentially irritate your eyes. Follow the eyelid wash with a warm compress (see below) to help your eyes regain moisture.

Repeat this process morning and night to relieve dry eye symptoms.

Warm Compress

A warm compress increases circulation to the eye area and stimulates tear production. This method also soothes your eye irritation by releasing oils that may have accumulated in the glands of your eyelid, thus improving tear quality.

Instructions: Prepare a bowl with warm water. Then soak a clean, lint-free cloth in the water, wring it out and place it over your eyes for a maximum of ten minutes. If the compress cools down, soak it once again in the warm water. Do this several times a day for a few days until your eyes feel better.

Add Omega-3 to Your Diet

Those lacking essential fatty acids in their diet are prone to developing dry eye syndrome. Studies show that consuming omega-3 fatty acids may stimulate tear production and create quality tears that lubricate your eyes more effectively. Consider supplementing your diet with omega-3 fatty acids, which are naturally found in foods like salmon, sardines, anchovies, and flax seeds. Taking fish oil capsules or other omega-3 tablets also works really well.

Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil is great for those with dry eyes, as it creates a protective layer over the tear film layers, resulting in reduced evaporation. Furthermore, coconut oil has antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, anti-parasitic, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. All you need to do is soak a cotton ball in coconut oil and place it on your closed eyelid. Do this several times a day until your eyes feel better.

Increase Caffeine Intake

Studies indicate that caffeine may alleviate dry eye by increasing production in the tear glands. Just make sure you’re careful when consuming caffeine, as it can lead to jitters, irritability and insomnia, particularly if you’re sensitive to caffeine, or if consumed in high quantities.

The participants in one study consumed capsules with 200 mg to 600 mg of caffeine (or 2-6 cups of coffee), depending on their weight.

On the other hand, caffeine in some people may act as a mild diuretic, which means they generally pass more water, possibly making the dry eye worse.

Change Your Environment

You may need to change your environment to prevent or alleviate dry eye, as dry air, high winds, dust, smoke, pollution and air conditioning can lead to temporary eye dryness. Consider using a cold-mist humidifier and avoid sitting directly in front of air conditioners or fans.

Wear Sunglasses

When outdoors, particularly when it’s windy, dusty or there’s the risk of high levels of UV exposure, wear wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes and decrease the chance of debris entering the eyes. Additionally, the front of your eyes has a protective layer called the conjunctiva, which can become red and inflamed when exposed to high levels of UV light or dust. Wearing good quality sunglasses will further prevent the eyes from experiencing those dry and irritating feelings.

Dry eye syndrome can cause another condition called photophobia, or acute sensitivity to light. By wearing sunglasses, you can further ease your dry eye symptoms.

More tips to prevent or alleviate dry eye symptoms

Blink More

By deliberately blinking, you stimulate the flow of tears which can help keep the moisture on your eyes intact. Though purposeful blinking may look unnatural, it’s still worth practicing in order to get used to blinking enough throughout the day — particularly when staring at screens (computer or digital devices) for extended periods.

Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Drinking alcohol can dehydrate your body, which then affects the quality of your tears. Consider limiting your alcohol intake, or eliminate it entirely, and see whether there’s a correlation between your alcohol consumption and dry eyes.

Stop Smoking

Cigarette smoking can double the risk of developing dry eye syndrome. Cigarette smoke is harmful to the eyes as it has more than 7,000 chemicals, all of which can irritate eyes. Furthermore, smoking can impact the composition of your tears.

If you’re a smoker, consider quitting. If you’re a non-smoker, avoid environments where there is an abundance of heavy smoking.

Drink More Water

Last but not least: drink more water! Staying well-hydrated is good for your eyes and is critical for manufacturing healthy tears, clearing out debris, blinking and seeing comfortably.

Make sure you drink 8-10 glasses of water a day for eye health, and of course, overall general physical wellbeing.

At-home remedies can alleviate mild and temporary instances of the condition. If the symptoms persist or worsen, contact Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric to speak with Dr. Fuerst or Dr. Gittins.

Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric is committed to helping you manage your long-term eye health. We serve patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

Resources:

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/news/caffeine-dry-eye

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120417102358.htm

https://www.healio.com/optometry/nutrition/news/print/primary-care-optometry-news/%7B4ec4aff0-09b2-4c1c-aca1-7c8201b7610b%7D/ods-recommend-omega-3-omega-6-supplements-for-managing-dry-eye

Dry Eye Syndrome

Chronic dry eyes or dry eye syndrome is a condition that can cause extreme discomfort, interfering with daily tasks and quality of life. Over the counter treatments and home remedies don’t always help and can often make the symptoms worse. Though the condition is more common in older Man suffering from dry eyes in front of computerindividuals, dry eye can affect people at any age. How do you know if you suffer from dry eyes?

What Is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is an eye condition that occurs when the quantity and/or quality of tears fails to keep the surface of the eye adequately lubricated. It can occur in one eye or both eyes and may lead to inflammation.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

There can be a number of causes for the inadequacy of the tear film which is supposed to lubricate the eyes. For some, the cause can be decreased tear production. In others, the tears evaporate too quickly from the eyes often due to an imbalance of the water, oil and mucus that makes up the tear film. Many times this is caused by a blockage or problem with the meibomian glands in the eyelids which are responsible for producing tears.

Dry eyes and reduced tear production can be a result of autoimmune diseases, radiation treatment, diabetes, vitamin A deficiency or complications from eye surgeries. Other possible causes are eyelid conditions, medications or environmental factors. In some instances the use of contact lenses also causes dry eyes.

The 3 Common Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome

While dry eyes can have a number of causes, the symptoms are often the same as a result of the eyes not receiving sufficient lubrication. Many people have dry eyes on occasion, but how do you know if there is an underlying issue that may be chronic? Here are the three most common symptoms of dry eye syndrome:

Itching and Burning Sensation

An itching, burning sensation is the most common symptom of dry eyes. Often there is also a gritty sensation as if there is a something in the eye. These uncomfortable symptoms often lead to the desire to rub the eyes which can further irritate the eye and intensify the burning sensation. Occasionally, the individual may also experience some pain or discomfort.

Eye Redness

Another symptom that is common among patients with dry eyes is redness. It is often the result of a combination of factors which cause irritation. The fact that the eyes are not properly lubricated means there is a high risk of irritation which alone can result in redness of the eyes. When dry eyes are stressed such as during intense reading, or rubbed due to itchiness, the redness can intensify.

Watery Eyes

Surprisingly, watery eyes is another symptom of dry eyes. Watery eyes from excessive tearing is the eye attempting to compensate for the dryness. However, this excessive tearing does not offer any meaningful relief for the patient. The body’s natural response to the irritation of dry eyes is ineffective because the quality of the tears produced is insufficient as they are not composed of the right ratio of components. Watery eyes also result from eye fatigue when the eyes are stressed during reading or other intense activities. Extreme tearing can also result in blurred vision.

Schedule An Appointment With Us Today!

Blonde girl wearing eyeglasses

Do you have dry eyes or know someone that does? Do you suffer from these common symptoms? Now is the time to act to prevent greater discomfort and improve your quality of life! Schedule an appointment with us today at Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric.

Our dry eye doctors will be available to examine the condition of your eyes and provide superior treatment. No matter the severity of your dry eye syndrome, we will work to determine the cause and find the solution to relieve your symptoms. Our Sacramento dry eye clinic helps both young and adult patients to achieve comfort and relief from their dry eye symptoms. Contact us today!

Gritty Eyes

You know that gritty feeling in the eye when it feels like something’s in it or it just feels rough and scratchy? It’s not just your imagination, there are some sound medical reasons behind this feeling. If you have gritty eyes, contact Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric and we’ll get you back to more comfortable vision.

What Causes Gritty Eyes?

Many with dry gritty-feeling eyesGritty eyes can result from a number of eye conditions and diseases, such as allergies, Dry Eye Syndrome, Blepharitis, and sunburned eyes.

Dry Eye

One of the most common causes of gritty eyes is a condition called Dry Eye Syndrome. As a person ages, the eye ducts which naturally produce tears, begin to slow down this natural tear production. A lack of tears causes the eyes to become dry, itchy, and uncomfortable.

Another symptom of dry eyes is grittiness. Many of our patients describe grittiness as a feeling that there’s a foreign substance in your eye. Others explain it as if there’s a tiny fleck of sand in the eye, resulting in a scratchy, rough sensation. Either way, it’s an uncomfortable experience. It can also cause some vision difficulties, such as blurry vision, inflammation, or frequent infections.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is a condition caused by a skin disorder or a bacterial infection. A patient with Blepharitis typically experiences inflamed eyelids, resulting in red and itchy eyes, as well as a general irritation of the eye area. Grittiness of the eye is also a symptom of this condition.

Sunburned Eyes

Did you know that your eyes can get a sunburn? While we usually think of a sunburn as reddened skin that hurts and then starts to peel during the healing process, your eyes can also be affected by sun rays.

When you are over-exposed to UV radiation, the cornea at the front of the eye can develop a sunburn. The first sign of sunburned eyes is when the sclera, the white part of the eye, appears bloodshot. You may notice a sudden sensitivity to light and feel a gritty sensation in your eyes. Soreness and blurry vision can also occur from sunburned eyes.

Seasonal Allergies

Although not a direct cause of gritty eyes, seasonal allergies can trigger Dry Eye, a cause of grittiness. For those with sensitivities to allergens such as pollen, dust, pet dander, or mold, allergic reactions can cause allergic conjunctivitis. This often results in red, watery, itchy and swollen eyes, symptoms which also occur in patients with dry eyes.

How To Treat Gritty Eyes

The key to treating gritty eyes is first understanding the cause.

For dry eyes, Dr. Fuerst or Dr. Gittins may recommend using artificial tears, which can lubricate the eyes to relieve the gritty, itchy feeling. Prescription eye drops may work for you, since they increase the eye’s natural tear production. In some cases, the doctor may prescribe steroids for more immediate short-term relief of your symptoms.

senior man thinking about eye surgery

If your gritty eye sensation is from Blepharitis, a simple way to alleviate the uncomfortable feeling is to keep your eyelids consistently clean. Use a warm compress to soften the eyelids and gently wash away any eye crust formations. The doctor often suggests using a light cleanser such as baby soap to clean the area lightly, but effectively.

In case of a bacterial infection, the eye doctor may give you a prescription for antibiotic drops or ointments, or in more severe cases, steroid drops.

For sunburned eyes, eye drops can often give you a relief by moisturizing the eye and soothing the burn with a lubricating formula. In some cases, anti-inflammatory drops may be prescribed. The gritty feeling from the sunburn often fades on its own in a matter of a few days. If you find that the grittiness and discomfort last more than 2 days, contact Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric immediately.

If you experience gritty eyes and have difficulty alleviating the discomfort, or if you have any questions about this condition, speak to us. Dr. Fuerst or Dr. Gittins can schedule a consultation and discuss the specifics of your case. Let us help you enjoy long-term clear and pain-free vision.

Spring Dry Eyes

woman applying eyedroppers, close upSpring is a time of renewal, when the harsh winter is just a memory and the outdoors seem to beckon us to go outside. While spring may be in the air, so are allergens. Allergies during the spring season can cause dry eyes and have a particularly severe effect on people with Dry Eye Syndrome.

During the spring months, pollen, pet dander, mold, and dust can be found in the air. These airborne allergens can trigger uncomfortable reactions like itchy, red, and watery eyes, as well as sneezing and sinus congestion. At Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric, we can offer you long-term relief for your seasonal dry eyes.

How Do The Seasons Affect Dry Eyes?

Although certain people with sensitivities to allergens may be more prone to allergic reactions, the seasons of the year can trigger these responses, too. In the winter, for instance, dry eyes can develop in people who live in climates with a lot of dry, cold air or strong winds. Sitting in direct aim of a heater may feel wonderful when it’s cold, but it can also dry out the eyes. In the summer when the heat is intense and people run their air conditioning systems regularly, dry eyes can develop from being in the direction of cold air.

A 5-year study found that 21% of the 3.4 million visits to an eye doctor during that time were related to dry eyes. Each year, there was a peak during April, proving that there is a likely correlation between allergens and dry eye cases.

Common Symptoms Of Seasonal Dry Eyes

The most common symptoms of dry eyes in the spring are:

  • Blurry vision
  • Burning
  • Gritty feeling
  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Stinging
  • Soreness
  • Watery eyes

It may seem odd, but watery eyes are a frequent symptom of dry eyes. It’s the body’s way of trying to self-heal the dryness by releasing excess tears, a condition called Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS). This condition gives some relief, but because these tears contain an inadequate amount of water, the relief is temporary and more long-lasting options are needed.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric. We have the knowledge, years of experience, latest technologies, and effective solutions to give you relief for your dry eyes this spring season.

Relief For Dry Eyes In The Springtime

Close up of blue eyeDr. Fuerst or Dr. Gittins treats patients from all over Citrus Heights, California who are suffering from seasonal dry eyes. Depending on your specific case and the intensity of your symptoms, the doctor may recommend daily artificial tears or lubricant eye drops to alleviate the pain. These can stimulate your eye’s natural tear production to moisturize the eyes and provide comfort. In some cases, prescription drops or steroids can produce similar results.

For patients with severe types of dry eyes, the doctor may talk to you about punctual plugs. These are tiny devices that are inserted inside the tear duct. They block your tears from draining out, which forces them to stay in your eye, coating and moisturizing the area.

Have you heard about scleral lenses? These are contact lenses that are made from rigid materials and contain a tiny pool of water, which provides moisture to dry eyes. Scleral lenses have a large diameter that covers the entire sclera (white part of the eye) without touching the cornea, so they can fit more comfortably. Because each person’s eye is unique, scleral lenses must be custom-fitted for each patient.

When It’s More Than Allergies

If your symptoms persist long after spring is over, and especially if they worsen, this may indicate signs of a more serious eye condition.

Examples can include any of the following:

  • Blepharitis (inflamed eyelids)
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Corneal Abrasions
  • Dry Eye Disease
  • Styes (an oil gland infection that causes a bump in the eyelid

We hope you take the time to enjoy this spring season. Should you experience any visual discomfort or are naturally prone to dry eyes, contact Citrus Heights, California and the caring staff at Dry Eye Center at EYEcenter Optometric. We’ll examine your eyes and discuss your personal needs to create an action plan that’s right for you.



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