This is a common statement I hear especially throughout the winter months. While it may not seem like a big deal, there are a lot of components to Ocular Surface Disease (OSD), also known as Dry Eye Syndrome. My common analogy I use to explain how OSD affects the eyes is a comparison to when skin gets too dry and starts to crack. Lotion will give some relief but it is not something that is a one-time cure. It does not let us have silky, smooth skin for the rest of the year. Rather, it takes a long time for our body tissue (whether skin or eyes) to dry out, therefore it will take just as long, if not longer, for the tissue to get back to a normal level.
While not everyone may feel the dry and scratchy sensation of OSD, most people still experience other symptoms that they may not realize can be associated with dryness. Many times, when the cornea becomes dry, it starts to have an appearance similar to sandpaper. So even before the eyes are beginning to feel uncomfortable, the vision can become compromised. If the surface is not properly lubricated, vision can fluctuate and cause many issues with reading or driving. If you compound this with the fact that when doing focused activities, such as working on the computer or tablet, our blink rate decreases, then there can be issues with keeping anything in good focus. Picture bugs getting on a windshield and needing more wiper fluid to clear. (Gross!)
While a common treatment is using over-the-counter artificial tears, there are several other home remedies capable of helping with Ocular Surface Disease. If those prove ineffective, there are prescription strength medications that can help. And just like it can present with many different symptoms, there are many different causes of OSD ranging from medications, the environment, certain medical conditions, and contact lens wear. When you are noticing symptoms, there have probably been many factors leading to OSD, so make sure to let your optometrist know if you notice anything new going on with your eyes. At Precision Eye Group, we are always happy to be of service to our patients, and want everyone to continue to have clear and comfortable vision well into the future.