Dry eyes is a widespread condition and it affects 10% - 20% of the adults in the US. It can become very uncomfortable, but unfortunately, many people who have dry eyes believe that there’s little to be done about this condition. Over time, they just learn to live with their itchy and irritated eyes. Virtually everyone has experienced dry eyes in some point of their lives. In some cases, chronic dry eye could be a critical concern. With so many people affected, it is important to realize there is help for the condition.
At Everett & Hurite, our expert ophthalmologists and their team of experienced eye care professionals can treat dry eyes in several different ways. To learn more, call one of our 10 office locations or use our online appointment request tool to schedule a visit today.
The name implies the eye is actually dry yet many people who have the problem complain of tearing. In 1995, the National Eye Institute defined it as a disorder of the tear film due to tear deficiency or excessive tear evaporation which causes damage to the eye surface and is associated with symptoms of ocular discomfort. Since then, there has been much interest at improving and treating the root causes of dry eyes.
Your eyes produce adequate tear to function correctly and keep it lubricated, so the surface of your eyes are clear and smooth. Tears in and of itself, is made up of three layers:
When your eyes doesn’t produce adequate volume of tears, you may notice the following symptoms:
There are many risk factors for dry eyes. Medications, age, sex, occupation, systemic diseases, contact lens use, and post Lasik or refractive surgery are frequent causes. Even more common is poor blinking. All day long we stare at our phones or tablets or computer screens and we blink less frequently. This clearly affects a lot of us and is another risk factor for developing dry eyes. Even the secretion of excess tears can be because of dry eyes, as your body created a compensatory response for insufficient tear production.
Various factors cause dry eyes like:
Diagnosing and treating dry eyes is important because the condition affects our daily lives. If not properly tended to, dry eyes can cause blurred vision and tearing. This can affect your ability to do your work, to read your medication bottles, or can even be embarrassing because you have to wipe your eyes all the time. Now, we have the ability to precisely diagnose the condition using new and old technology.
Treatment options for dry eyes depend on the cause of your condition, as well as the overall health of the patient. In any case, our expert ophthalmologists at Everett & Hurite have a deep understanding of various risk factors of dry eyes and they would perform a thorough eye exam on all patients before beginning the treatment. Depending on your symptoms, you may also benefit from evaluation with the TearLab Osmolarity System. In addition, the LipiView allows the doctor to view your actual oil producing glands, to observe your blink rate, and to quantify your tear film’s oil content. Once they have a good understanding of your condition, they can then focus on the treatment.
Our doctors may suggest lubricating your eyes with artificial tears. If that doesn’t give positive results, then our doctors may consider you for implanting punctal plugs. These plugs are tiny in nature and they are made up of silicone or a special type of gel. They would be inserted into your tear ducts to prevent the draining of your natural tears from the eyes; the goal being to prevent moisture from escaping.
Another viable approach would be boost your body’s natural production of tears, aided by special eye drops. To achieve optimal results, our doctors might pair this method with additional efforts to reduce environmental irritants. If all those efforts have not addressed the problem adequately, surgical closure of your tear ducts would be the best way to treat dry eyes.
To relieve yourself from persistent dry eyes, call or schedule an appointment online with one of our dry eyes specialists, in any of our 10 offices conveniently located near you for a comprehensive eye exam.