Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can dry eyes lead to blindness?"
This may be a silly question. But my eyes are chronically dry and sometimes I can't open my eyes. Can this have long-term consequences such as blindness?
Dry eyes are caused by decreased or inadequate tears. Tears help protect the surface of your eyes, as well as protecting your eyes from infection. Dry eyes can be caused by a wide variety of problems and situations. People with chronically dry eyes should visit an ophthalmologist for an eye exam, because sometimes chronic dry eyes are a sign of a problem with the eye, eyelid, or tear ducts. It is also important to see a doctor because chronic dry eyes are sometimes a sign of certain autoimmune conditions. There are also multiple risk factors and medications that exacerbate dry eyes, which may be detected by your doctor during a complete examination. That said, the majority of cases of dry eyes are due to factors in the patient's lifestyle. Exposure to dry windy environments frequently causes dry eyes. Patients who get inadequate sleep also frequently experience dry eyes. Irritating activities where people reduce the frequency of blinking such as driving, reading, watching TV, or working on a computer are common causes of eye dryness. Generally, dry eyes don't cause serious problems, but sometimes excessively dry eyes can lead to damage to the surface of the eye or more frequent eye infections. Blindness would be an extremely rare result of dry eyes themselves or even of any of the complications dry eyes could bring on. Even though your sight is probably not at risk, the fact that your dry eyes are affecting your quality of life is an important reason to seek treatment. An ophthalmologist can examine your eyes to ensure no damage has occurred and can also offer a wide variety of prescription treatments for dry eyes including moisturizing drops to alleviate your symptoms and improve your eye health.
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