There Wasn’t A Dry Eye In The House (Except For Yours): Dealing With Chronic Dry Eyes

There wasn't a dry eye in the house is a phrase associated with sad or emotional movies or plays—causing every audience member to shed a tear. It's a phrase that might spring to mind when your dry eyes cause ongoing aggravation and discomfort. There wasn't a dry eye in the house, except for yours. Although occasional eye dryness isn't out of the ordinary, for some people the condition can be chronic.

Tears and Oils

You might already be aware of the underlying cause of your dry eyes—and in all likelihood, there's a clear cause. Your eyes aren't producing enough watery tears to keep them sufficiently moist, or the Meibomian glands above your eyes aren't secreting enough meibum— a type of oil that slows the evaporation of the film on top of your liquid tears. If you're unsure about why your eyes are drying out, schedule an appointment with your physician, who may refer you to an optometrist.


There are a few medical conditions that can affect your ability to produce tears or cause dysfunction of your Meibomian glands. In some sufferers, Sjogren's syndrome can result in dry eyes, as can rheumatoid arthritis. There may be environmental causes, such as improperly fitting contact lenses or even too much screen time. The eye is a delicate organ, and even brief periods of dryness can be distressing, causing sore, stinging eyes that seem extremely sensitive to changes in light. Your vision will eventually begin to blur. In some people, the dryness is evident as their eyes become red and inflamed, making it look as though they're suffering from a severe allergic reaction.

Being Assessed

If the cause isn't already known, an optometrist can get to the bottom of it. Ideally, only minimal intervention is needed in the form of some behavioral changes (such as less screen time). Any ocular assistance you use (glasses or contact lenses) will be inspected—and contact lenses may no longer be suitable. When lenses are thought to be the culprit, you may need to switch to glasses or consider laser eye surgery (if possible).

Managing Symptoms

Dry eye treatment involves identifying (and where practical, eliminating) the underlying cause of the condition but also managing the symptoms. You may simply have to periodically use over-the-counter medicated eye drops when discomfort begins. Immunosuppressant medications may be prescribed to manage severe inflammation, or topical steroids can be applied for the same results.

The discomfort caused by chronic dry eyes can be extreme. Have the condition assessed so the cause can be identified. And don't hesitate to consult your physician or optometrist for assistance with effectively managing the symptoms. 

Contact a doctor to learn more about dry eye care