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Is Dry Eye Painful?

Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem that, according to the National Eye Institute, nearly 16 million individuals in the United States suffer from annually. Symptoms include redness, stinging or burning sensation, light sensitivity, stringy mucus on or near the eye, blurred vision, double vision, difficulty or discomfort when opening eyes, inability to wear contacts, or feeling of grittiness or sand in the eye. Pain is a less common side effect for dry eyes but should be taken seriously. The discomfort from dry eye can present as infrequent sharp pains in the eye or a more constant stinging or dull ache in the eye. 

Dry eye typically occurs for 2 reasons: inadequate number of tears produced or the quality of tears. Tears are necessary to lubricate and nourish the eye, maintaining eye health and providing clear vision. With each blink of the eyelids, tears move across the cornea of the eye. These tears wash away any foreign matter, keeping the eye’s surface clear, smooth and lubricated. Excess tears in the eyes flow into small drainage ducts in the inner corners of the eyelid and out into the back of the nose. Dry eyes can occur when tear production and drainage is not in balance. External factors may aggravate dry eye symptoms, including conditions common in many workplaces such as prolonged computer use and exposure to air conditioning, heating, dust and allergens.

Over the counter medications, such as artificial eye drops, have proven to be successful for those with mild to moderate dry eye. However, if dry eye persists, it’s time to contact your healthcare provider. If dry eye is not properly treated, risks include infection and inflammation. Dry eye can affect normal daily activities. When dry eye symptoms are heightened to affect quality of life, dry eye can be painful resulting in serious complications like corneal ulcers, conjunctivitis, or vision loss; however, vision loss is a rare occurrence from dry eye. 

If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms or any pain related to dry eyes, it’s time to set up an appointment with your ophthalmologist as soon as possible. The sensitivity and health of your vision is our top priority at Skyline Vision Clinic. Don’t delay on your eye care. Give our friendly office a call at 719-630-3937 or visit our WEBSITE for more information.