Dry eye disease can cause an array of symptoms.
Dry eye disease is a complex condition that can cause an array of symptoms, says Dr. Preeya K. Gupta, an associate professor of ophthalmology at the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. About 16 million adults in the U.S. are diagnosed with dry eye disease.
Not enough tears
The disease, also known as dry eye syndrome, is a condition in which the eyes either do not produce enough tears or there is an issue with the quality of the tear production, says Dr. Brad Brocwell, vice president of clinical operations for Now Optics, which consists of the retail brands MyEyelab and Station Optical. He’s based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Here are nine signs of dry eye disease:
Feelings of dryness in your eyes are a classic symptom of dry eye disease, Gupta says. This can be caused by eye strain, perhaps from spending too much time working on your laptop or playing video games, she says.
Irritated eyes are common symptoms of dry eye disease, Gupta says.
If you feel the need to scratch your eyes, you may have dry eye disease. Itchy eyes are a common sign of dry eye disease, Gupta says.
4. Light sensitivity
Sensitivity to light is a common sign of dry eye disease that can impact everyday activities such as reading, watching TV, working on a computer or driving a car, Gupta says.
5. Gritty-feeling eyes
Some people with dry eye disease feel like they have sand or another irritant in the affected eye, Gupta says.
6. A burning sensation
A lack of moisture and irritation on the ocular surface of the eye can cause a burning sensation, which is a possible symptom of dry eye disease, Brocwell says.
You probably wouldn’t associate tearing with dry eye disease. However, the eye can compensate for a lack of tears by producing more tears to offset the dryness, says Dr. Rony R. Sayegh, an opthamologist with the Cole Eye Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.
Various types of pain frequently co-exist with other symptoms of dry eye disease, Sayegh says. “If the pain is intense, persistent or associated with other findings — such as skin lesions around the eye, redness or sensitivity to light — you may want to consult your eye specialist,” he says.
A lack of tears on the surface of the eye can cause redness, Brocwell says. Redness is a common sign of dry eye syndrome.
To recap, here are nine signs of dry eye disease:
— Light sensitivity.
— Gritty-feeling eyes.
— A burning sensation.
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