Dry eye disease is a common condition that occurs when your eyes can’t produce adequate lubrication because they don’t produce enough tears or the tears they produce are low-quality.
The word “disease” may have caught your attention. Indeed, this is a disease of the eyes that simple rewetting drops from your local pharmacy may not adequately address. The tear inadequacy mentioned above, if not treated, can lead to inflammation, damage to the eyes surface, eye infections and permanent damage to the tear glands required to produce high quality tears.
The list of causes and risk factors is lengthy.
Causes of Dry Eye
Some of the most common causes are aging, hormone changes, certain medical condition, certain medications, allergies, clogged tear glands, computer use, environmental factors, and even contact lens usage.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
If you have dry eye disease, you may experience some or all these symptoms. If you are experiencing these symptoms, schedule a comprehensive eye exam to determine whether dry eye disease is the cause.
- A stinging or burning sensation in your eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Eye redness
- A gritty or sandy feeling in your eyes
- Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Watery eyes (the body’s response to the irritation of dry eyes)
- Blurred vision or eye fatigue
Treatment for Dry Eye
Proper and effective treatment for dry eye disease depends on the root cause. Dry eye treatment can now be targeted to address the underlying cause of the problem. Some patients suffer from a lack of tear production, others from excessive evaporation of their tears. Most suffer from a combination of both problems.
Some of the typical treatments include:
- Prescription eye drops to combat inflammation
- Treating oil glands
- Blinking exercises or proper eyelid hygiene
- If an infection is causing the issue, low-dose antibiotics may also be prescribed.
How to Prevent Dry Eye
There are several preventative measures you can take to reduce the effects of dry eyes. Avoid air blowing in your eyes, for example a fan at work or the AC in your car. Use a humidifier in the winter to add moisture to the air. Take eye breaks during long tasks, such as staring at a computer for several hours. Avoid smoking or smoky environments and use artificial tears regularly. Also consider the foods and drinks you consume, which can play a role in ocular dryness. Our doctors can review this with you.
Putting aside the medical component, what patients often find most frustrating is the decreased quality of life. When dry eyes make it difficult to enjoy everyday activities like reading, or you find yourself constantly having to put lubricating drops in your eyes, your quality of life can be affected. Our doctors take this very seriously and we’ll work with you to restore the quality of life you desire and deserve.
Treatment for dry eyes is unique to each individual. Our doctors will identify the root causes and work with you to implement a treatment plan that restores healthy vision and comfort, while preventing long-term damage that can result from untreated dry eye.