Dry eye syndrome results in burning, stinging, irritated, itchy, and red eyes because not enough tears are produced or tears produced are not of sufficient quality to lubricate the tear film that coats the outer layer of the eye. This makes the eye more prone to infection and injury, as the tear film washes and protects the eye from airborne bacteria and irritants. Dry eye syndrome can be caused by biological factors such as age and sex, as well as medications (including antihistamines) and lifestyle (such as smoking, prolonged sun exposure, and harsh, windy weather). Another leading cause of dry eye syndrome is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), which alters the constitution of the tears produced, therefore decreasing the effectiveness of the tear film.
Dry, irritated eyes can also be the result of seasonal allergies, which are very common in the Beaufort area. Allergens like pollen, dust, and pet dandruff can cause irritation year-round and can be heightened during a specific season. Both dry eye syndrome and dry eyes can be treated with over-the-counter moisture drops, although for more severe cases, medicated eye drops prescribed by your eye care practitioner are necessary.