Firstly, it should be known that all symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) are very dynamic and tentative on daily bases – a single blink can cause a change of symptom.
Mostly, when the cause is due to insufficient tears, the symptoms get more severe as the day progresses. On waking up, the symptoms tend to get worse, particularly, when the syndrome is associated with blepharitis – an eyelid inflammation – that comes with itching and burning. Below are the most common specific symptoms to look out for.
1. Specifically: Blurred Eyesight
Details: Visual sharpness begins to be unstable, thereby causing difficulties in seeing small elements. There is a loss of focus on far and near elements.
2. Specifically: Photophobia
Details: This is a condition where the eye is highly sensitive to light due to dry eye surface, which causes scattering of light that enters it. It results in painful eye squinting and headache.
3. Specifically: Night driving difficulties
Details: The pupil becomes larger as a result of inadequate light at night, so as to accommodate more light. This light will be scattered and unfocused in a dry eye. The smaller pupils filter out the light during the day, but abnormalities will increase when the pupils become larger again at night. Sometimes, auras or circles will be seen around lights or a kind of photophobia called Glares. It is extremely dangerous when such eye is exposed to oncoming headlights and this makes night driving very difficult and dangerous.
4. Specifically: Eye Redness
Details: This is due to enlargement of eye blood vessels.
5. Specifically: Pain
Details: DES patients can feel pain on the eye’s surface, the scalp and the eyelid. The pain may be mild or severe.
6. Specifically: Periocular Irritation
Details: Itching, burning and stinging are felt by DES affected people.
7. Specifically: Watery eye
Details: Due to the brain’s response to irritation, DES affected people experience excessive tears. The excess tears are mainly water.
8. Specifically: Weakness
Details: As a result of heavy eyelids, the eye feels tired.
9. Specifically: Less focus ability
Details: Mostly, long visual attention leads to less focus ability.
10. Specifically: Uncomfortable contact lenses
Details: People with DES experiences irritation and pain
11. Specifically: Mucus discharge
Details: When DES affected people wake up, the eyelids maybe sealed due to the discharge of mucus, but it can also occur at any time during the day.
Most people experience only fluctuating mild symptoms, but there is the tendency of an increase in severity which includes photophobia and visual deterioration, as DES is a chronic disease that grows with time. Sometimes, when people rub affected eyes due to irritation, it leads to scarring of the cornea and this can lead to permanent blindness.