What Is Dry Eye?
If your eyes does not create enough tears to keep your eyes moisturized or if the tears that you make are of poor quality and evaporates quickly, then dry eye occurs.
Who Is At Risk of Developing Dry Eye?
While anyone can get dry eye, certain factors can put you at greater risk. As you get older, your eyes produce fewer tears. Certain medical conditions can cause you to produce fewer tears, such as vitamin A deficiency, lupus, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disorder. The side effects of certain medications can make dry eye to occur, such as antidepressants, acne medication, birth control, high blood pressure medication, decongestants, antihistamines, and hormone replacement therapy. If you had laser eye surgery, you can temporary get dry eye. Dry eye can also happen if your tear glands are damaged due to radiation or chronic inflammation.
What Are the Symptoms Of Dry Eye?
Dry eye symptoms can be very uncomfortable and your vision can be affected. These include:
- The sensation that there is something in your eye.
- Stinging and burning eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Blurry vision
- Trouble seeing at night
- Redness of the eye
- How Is Dry Eye Diagnosed?
If our optometrists or ophthalmologists suspect that you have dry eye, they may perform a test called the Schirmer test. In this test, our eye doctors will put a blotting strip of paper that is placed under the lower eyelid. After 15 minutes, our eye doctors will remove the strip and measure the number of tears soaked up by the strip.
What Are the Treatments Available For Treating Dry Eye
Actually there are a few dry eye treatments available. Our doctors of optometry will choose the best course of eye care treatment based on the severity of your dry eye condition.
- Artificial Tears: This is the most common treatment for mild to moderate dry eye. These tears would replace the ones that you cannot produce.
- Eye Inserts: These are tiny inserts that are made of artificial tears. Throughout the day, they will slowly dissolve, keeping your eyes moist.
- Medication: There are medications available that can help your eyes produce more natural tears.
- Punctal Plugs: These are tiny silicone plugs that block the tear ducts to prevent tear loss.