Ask the doctors

Q. My eyes have been feeling scratchy and irritated lately. Is there anything that can help?

A. While only a doctor can tell you what is causing your symptoms, you could be experiencing dry eye syndrome, a problem caused by declining tear production. With less of this natural lubricant, eyes may get irritated or sensitive to light, or vision may be blurry. Some people also experience a feeling of stickiness or fewer tears when crying.

Dry eye syndrome becomes more common as people age, but it can also be caused by hormone changes, like the ones that occur during menopause, or certain medications, such as antihistamines and decongestants. There are strategies and treatments that can help. First, reduce eye strain by minimizing screen time or taking regular breaks. Also use a humidifier inside, particularly in the winter. There are many treatments for dry eye, including drops and ointments, which provide artificial lubrication, reduce inflammation, or stimulate the body to produce more natural tears. They’re not a cure, but can help ease symptoms.

Reference: Posted in Harvard Health Publishing (2022) Available at: (Accessed: 7 Jun, 2022)