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Dry eyes are not just from allergies

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POSTED: March 22, 2007 5:12 a.m.
Do your eyes ever burn, itch, water, or feel full of sand?
Many people believe these symptoms are due to allergies when in fact it is usually dry eyes.
Tears bathe the eye, washing out dust and debris and keep the eye moist. When dry eye occurs, the front surface of the eyes become unhealthy and irritated. This unhealthy surface leads to the symptoms of dry eyes.
Although the root of the problem is dry eyes, you may wonder why your eyes are tearing so much. The extreme dryness leads to an over stimulation of your tear glands causing an increase in the watery component of your tears.
Constant dry eyes can be caused by a number of reasons. The condition occurs as a part of the natural aging process, especially during menopause. Medications such as antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medications and birth control pills can cause dry eyes. Daily activities such as staring at a computer monitor for a long period of time can lead to insufficient blinking and cause the eyes to feel dry. Certain systemic diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and rosacea can also be linked to dry eyes.
Treatment for dry eyes may include artificial tears that are drops that add moisture to the eyes. Artificial tears help to temporarily relieve the dry and scratchy feeling. “Punctal occlusion” is another treatment that blocks the tear ducts and allow the tears to remain on the eyes for a longer period of time. Prescription medications are also available for moderate to severe cases of dry eyes. Several treatment options exist for dry eyes.
Fortunately, many people are able to find a treatment that works best for them with a visit to their eye care physician.
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