Have you ever felt like there was something in your eye that wouldn’t go away? You’ve tried eye drops or even flushing your eyes out with water, but eventually, that same irritating feeling comes back and keeps you from enjoying the things you love to do.
If this sounds familiar, you may be experiencing symptoms of chronic eye irritation. Now, a lot of different things can irritate your eyes, and the trick to finding the right relief is by identifying what the problem may be stemming from.
Today, we’re going to take a look at what could cause chronic eye irritation, and we’ll touch on some of the solutions your optometrist could recommend to help you find relief. Let’s dive in!
Dry eyes is a common eye condition that many people face around the globe, and many different factors can cause dry eyes.
Dry eyes, in essence, is your eye’s inability to produce enough tears, or to produce high-quality tears, to keep your eyes feeling comfortable. Your eyes have an outer layer called a tear film, which is responsible for this comfort.
Your tear film has 3 distinct ingredients: mucin, water, and oil (also known as lipids). If any of these ingredients are affected in any way, it can cause dry eye symptoms. Some common eye conditions that can affect your tear film can include blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction.
Dry eyes can also be caused by your environment, especially if you’re in dry, smokey, or windy air.
Dry Eye Treatments
The treatment for dry eyes changes from patient to patient, but some of the most common ones include eye drops, meibomian gland expression, or even an in-office treatment called Lipiflow.
If you believe you’re experiencing symptoms of dry eyes, you can either contact us to book an appointment or take our dry eye questionnaire so one of our dry eye specialists can determine how severe your symptoms are.
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye or Red Eye)
Conjunctivitis is also a widespread eye condition that can leave your eyes feeling sore or irritated. Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissue underneath your eyelid that covers the sclera (or whites) of your eyes. Including irritation, you may also experience redness, teariness, or even a sensitivity to light.
There are 3 common types of conjunctivitis:
- Viral conjunctivitis.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis.
- Allergic conjunctivitis.
While the symptoms may stay the same between the three different types, treatment options may differ.
Viral conjunctivitis doesn’t necessarily have a cure, but an optometrist can help you find relief through different eye drops or medications.
Bacterial conjunctivitis may need the use of antibiotics to treat effectively, but also could be treated with the use of ointments or eye drops.
Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when you have an allergic reaction, so some effective medications could include eye drops or allergy medication.
Please make sure you speak with your optometrist if you’re experiencing symptoms of conjunctivitis before you start looking for over-the-counter relief. Your optometrist can help discern the type you have and help guide you to an effective solution.
Improperly Fitted Contact Lenses
Sometimes, the cause of your irritation may not be found on your eyes. Poorly fitted contact lenses can cause a range of different problems with your eye comfort, including irritation, inflammation, and dryness.
One way to tell if it’s your contact lenses causing you problems is by seeing if your symptoms subside if you remove them. If they do, they may need refitting to sit comfortably on your eyes.
In some cases, you may need specialty contact lenses to avoid these issues. Please speak to your optometrist to see if specialty contacts are required to provide you with comfortable vision.
Laser Eye Surgery
Laser eye surgery can bring patients a permanent solution to their vision problems, but they can come with their share of side-effects. However, with this being said, some eye discomfort is expected following laser eye surgery, including itchiness, irritation, and dryness.
Your eye care team, including your optometrist and your ophthalmologist, will help by providing you with eye drops and special sunglasses to manage these symptoms during the healing process.
If you believe your symptoms are exceeding what would be expected, please contact your eye care team as soon as you can.