Could Dry Eyes Be Causing Your Headaches?

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If your eyes feel dry and irritated all the time, you may be experiencing dry eye syndrome. At inVision Ophthalmology Tuscaloosa in Tuscaloosa, AL, our experienced team of doctors regularly diagnoses and treats people with dry eye syndrome. We’re going to tell you more about dry eye syndrome, how your dry eyes may be causing your headaches, and how to get relief from dry eye syndrome.

What is dry eye syndrome?

Everyone gets dry, itchy, irritated eyes. However, if you have chronic dry eyes (eyes that stay dry for long periods or are dry regularly), it could be an indication of dry eye syndrome. Tears and oils produced by the eyes and glands in the eyelids are the natural lubrication in your eyes. They help to wash away dirt and other irritants in the eyes and keep everything in your eyes working properly. Without them, people experience dry, itchy eyes, irritation, redness, and even blurred vision. Dry eye syndrome is when your eyes aren’t producing enough tears and oils for your eyes to work the way they should. This is known as dry eye syndrome and can have several causes.

What are symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome may be different for each person experiencing it because the causes of dry eye syndrome are varied. However, no matter the cause, the symptoms of dry eye are similar and may include one or a mix of the following:

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Dry stickiness
  • Irritation
  • Puffiness or swelling
  • Light sensitivity
  • Grittiness or the feeling of having something in your eyes
  • Problems with wearing contact lenses
  • Difficulty driving at night
  • Eye fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches

What is the main cause of dry eyes?

Every day, you may have dry eyes, gritty eyes, or irritated eyes for completely normal reasons, like:

  • Wind or circulating air (fans)
  • Hot, dry environments
  • Extended screen time (computer, cell phone)
  • Allergies

But when your eyes are constantly dry and irritated, it may be dry eye syndrome. The cause of dry eye syndrome can vary from person to person and be rooted in a variety of factors, including:

  • Effects of aging
  • Menopause
  • Certain medications (medications for high blood pressure, birth control, Parkinson's disease, antihistamines, decongestants, hormone replacement therapy, SSRIs/antidepressants)
  • Corneal nerve desensitivity caused by contact lens use or nerve damage
  • Disease or illness (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's syndrome, allergic eye disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, sarcoidosis, thyroid disorders, vitamin A deficiency)

Can dry eyes give you a headache?

Researchers believe that migraine headaches and dry eyes may share common triggers, such as eye strain, Sjogren's syndrome, extended screen time, prescription medications, and others. This means if you get migraines or frequent headaches, you may be more likely to develop dry eyes and vice versa.

At inVision Ophthalmology Tuscaloosa, our team of doctors can test your eyes to determine whether you’re experiencing dry eye syndrome or just the effects of everyday normal dry eyes. That's why our doctors in Tuscaloosa, AL always recommend regular eye exams anytime you’re experiencing issues with your eyes.

How to treat dry eyes

If you get dry eyes or experience itching and irritation from time to time, you may not necessarily be suffering from dry eye syndrome. If your eyes are dry and irritated, here are a few ways to get relief for your dry eyes:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid any type of smoke
  • Use hydrating eye drops or artificial tears
  • Limit screen time
  • Use a humidifier at home during the fall and winter months
  • Avoid places with a lot of circulation air or hot, dry environments
  • Put a warm compress on your eyes
  • Take omega-3 fatty acid supplements

If these measures don’t help your dry eye symptoms, you should have your eyes examined by a doctor to determine if your issues are being caused by dry eye syndrome.

Get relief from dry eyes

When home remedies and artificial tears aren’t enough to keep your eyes dry and comfortable, it may be time to talk to a doctor about dry eye syndrome. At inVision Ophthalmology Tuscaloosa, our talented team of doctors can examine your eyes to diagnose the cause of your dry eyes and prescribe a treatment to give you relief. If you’re constantly suffering from dry eyes, irritation, headaches, and a feeling of grittiness in your eyes, don’t try to power through it. Call us today and schedule an appointment in Tuscaloosa, AL. Let us help you get the relief for dry eyes you need and deserve.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.