Dry eye can cause a stinging, burning sensation in your eyes and make them feel like they’re dried out and sensitive. If you’re familiar with this feeling, you’ve probably experienced dry eye. This common condition causes burning, irritation, and even blurry vision.
Although dry eye can cause many uncomfortable symptoms, it usually doesn’t lead to floaters or flashers in your vision. Floaters and flashers are often associated with eye conditions related to the retina, which is often more serious than dry eyes. If you’re experiencing floaters and flashers, it’s crucial to seek help from your optometrist or a medical professional.
What Is Dry Eye?
Dry eye, simply put, is a condition where your eyes don’t produce enough tears or the right kind of tears to stay properly lubricated. It’s like trying to slide down a water slide with no water—not quite as efficient, right? Your eyes need that moisture to function correctly and comfortably.
The tear film is important for keeping our eyes healthy and our vision clear. It’s made up of 3 layers:
- The outer lipid layer, which stops tears from evaporating quickly. This layer is produced by the meibomian glands.
- The middle aqueous layer, produced by the lacrimal glands, which provides hydration, nutrients, and helps wash away dust and debris.
- The inner mucin layer, which helps the tear film stay on the eye’s surface.
Together, these layers spread across our eyes when we blink to keep them hydrated and protected and keep our vision sharp. When something gets in the way of this balance, like not enough production or poor quality of any layer, that’s when dry eye happens.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
If you have dry eye, you might experience symptoms like:
- A feeling like there’s something in your eye
- Blurry vision
- Light sensitivity
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
Since the eye isn’t properly protected, it can feel irritated and uncomfortable until your condition recedes. This makes it essential to seek proper treatment from your optometrist.
Can Dry Eye Cause Floaters?
Dry eye doesn’t directly cause floaters or flashers, but these can occur together. Floaters are tiny specks that drift around in your field of vision, while flashers are flashes of light. These are typically caused by changes within the vitreous, the gel-like substance inside your eyes, not the surface where dry eye occurs.
But it’s worth noting that both dry eye and floaters can happen due to aging or strain on the eyes. As we age, the vitreous tends to shrink away from the retina, which can cause flashes and floaters. While this is sometimes harmless, they can also be indicators that there’s a more serious eye condition developing, like a problem with the retina.
If you’re experiencing floaters or flashers, whether alone or together, consult with an eye care professional. They can help determine the root cause and guide you toward appropriate treatment.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
Several factors can contribute to how likely you are to develop dry eye, ranging from environmental conditions to underlying health issues. They include:
- Aging, as the eye undergoes many changes with age
- Medical conditions like diabetes, blepharitis, or cataracts
- Certain medications, including many antidepressants or antihistamines
- Environmental factors, like too much wind or dust
- Hormonal changes
- Laser eye surgery—though this is usually a temporary side effect and subsides over time
- Prolonged screen time, as we often blink less often when using screens for too long
Because there are so many different potential causes, it’s important to consult your optometrist for a proper diagnosis. They can perform a comprehensive eye exam and may be able to narrow down exactly what’s causing your dry eyes. Once they know the cause, they can recommend an appropriate form of treatment.
How Do You Fix Dry Eye?
Treating dry eye can involve a few different strategies. Some possibilities include:
- Artificial tears or ointments
- Medicated eye drops
- Lifestyle changes, like taking breaks from screen time, using a humidifier, and adjusting your diet
- Procedures like installing punctual plugs
Your optometrist may even recommend in-office dry eye treatment, like:
These treatments, when performed by a trained and experienced professional, can be an excellent way to get relief from your dry eyes.
Where to Get Help for Dry Eye
If you’re dealing with dry eye, floaters, flashers, or just have questions about your eye health, contact Dr. Zargar Eyecare. We’re here to help you see clearly and comfortably. Request an appointment with us today.