When you don’t have enough tears to lubricate and nourish your eyes, you have what’s known as dry eye. This is a common, often chronic problem for many people, especially as they age. Here are some frequently asked questions about dry eye and ways you can treat it.
What is dry eye?
Dry eye is a chronic and progressive condition that is often underdiagnosed. Essentially the surface of the eye doesn’t retain moisture due to insufficient tear production, excessive tear evaporation or an imbalance in the tear film quality.
What causes dry eye?
There are several causes of dry eye. Your age and gender play a role. Most people over the age of 40 will experience some symptoms of dry eye due to reduced tear production. Women are more susceptible to dry eye due to hormonal changes caused by menopause, contraceptive use and pregnancy. Environmental factors such as smoke, pollutants, wind, dust, dry climates and indoor air quality can cause dry eye. People with medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems or rheumatoid arthritis are more prone to the disease. Medications such as blood pressure medications and antihistamines can reduce tear production, causing dry eye.
What are the symptoms of dry eye?
Dry eyes can be unbearable, with burning, scratching, stinging, redness, sensitivity to light, eye fatigue, blurry vision and more. If left untreated, it can impact vision and affect your daily activities, impacting your quality of life.
How is dry eye diagnosed?
Your comprehensive eye examination will consist of going through your patient history, looking at health history and other factors that may be contributing to dry eye. The eye and eyelids will be examined. Tears produced by the eyes will be measured for quantity and quality to determine any abnormalities.
What are my treatment options?
Your doctor will start with conservative measures such as artificial tears, warm compresses, eyelid hygiene and anti-inflammatory medications. The Dry Eye Experts Treatment Center at the Eye & LASIK Center utilizes in-office oil gland treatments to reduce bacterial overgrowth and inflammatory burden on the eyelids. BlephEx, LipiFlow and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) are specific in-office treatments for dry eye that doesn’t respond to other treatments or for chronic dry eye.
Our Dry Eye Center of Excellence, led by Eye & LASIK Center dry eye expert Dr. Pierre Alfred, will help you find relief from your dry eye symptoms and help you find ways to improve eye health. Set up an appointment today by calling (800) 676-5050.