What is Dry Eye?
Avery Ranch Eye Care‘s Dry Eye Treatment Center is dedicated to finding the best treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. We understand how frustrating the symptoms of dry eye can have on your daily activities. By utilizing specific tests designed to help determine the type of dry eye you have, we are able to thoroughly evaluate your dry eyes and initiate a treatment plan quickly.
Dry eyes or dry eye syndrome (DES) can become a chronic condition as a result of either an insufficient amount of tears being produced or having a poor quality of tears. Tears are composed of three layers called the mucin, aqueous, and lipid layer. The most common form of dry eyes is caused by an insufficient amount of the aqueous layer. This condition is called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (K. sicca) or also referred to as dry eye syndrome.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
- Age – dry eye is part of the natural aging process. Majority of people 65 or older experience some symptoms of dry eyes.
- Gender – due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, use of oral contraceptives, and menopause women are more likely to develop dry eyes.
- Environmental – exposure to wind, dry climates, smoke, or staring at a computer screen for extended periods of time can cause the tears to evaporate more rapidly than normal causing dry eye symptoms.
- Medical conditions – rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid issues, and Sjogren’s Syndrome are examples of medical conditions that can cause symptoms of dry eyes. Inflammation of the surface of the eye or eyelids, the turning of the eyelids inward or outward can also cause dry eyes.
- Medications – antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications can decrease the number of tears being produced in the eyes.
How Can Dry Eyes be Treated?
At our Dry Eye Treatment Center, our optometrist will treat and manage your dry eyes by prescribing a treatment plan that is tailored to meet your individual needs. The goal of successfully treating dry eyes is to either add tears, conserving tears, increase tear production, or reduce the ocular surface inflammation.
- Adding tears – Some mild cases of dry eyes can be managed by using over-the-counter artificial tears. Preservative-free artificial tears are recommended because they have fewer additives which could further the symptoms of dry eyes. Artificial tears can be used as often as needed. Some people may have persistent dry eyes that don’t get relief from artificial tears alone. Additional treatment will be needed to manage their dry eye symptoms.
- Conserving tears – An additional approach to managing dry eye symptoms is to get the naturally produced tears to stay on the eyes longer. This can be accomplished by blocking the tear ducts that allow the tears to drain. The tear ducts can be blocked by a tiny silicone or gel-like plug called a punctal plug. In some cases, a surgical procedure to permanently close the tear ducts is needed.
- Increasing the number of tears – Prescription eye drops can be used to help to increase the production of tears. Omega-3 fatty acid nutritional supplements may also be part of the treatment plan.
- Reduce ocular surface inflammation – To help decrease inflammation warm compresses with lid massage, and eyelid cleaners may be used. In addition, prescription eye drops or ointments may also be needed to reduce the ocular surface inflammation.
Any Additional Tips?
There are additional steps to help reduce the discomfort caused by dry eyes:
- Be sure not to overwear your contact lenses, which can prevent your eyes from receiving enough oxygen, and cause dry eye symptoms.
- Wear sunglasses when outdoors will help to reduce exposure to wind, dust, and sun. Sunglasses with a wrap-around frame offer the best protection.
- Increase the level of humidity in the air at home and work. Utilize an air cleaner to filter the dust and other particles from the air.
- Remember to blink while reading or working on the computer for long periods of time.
- Drink plenty of water to keep from becoming dehydrated.
- Use nutritional supplements that contain essential fatty acids. Ask our optometrist if the use of dietary supplements could benefit your dry eye symptoms.
Learn More About Dry Eye:
If you are seeking relief from your dry eye symptoms, please call us at 512-255-7070 today!