If you’ve dealt with the itching, redness and pain in your eyes, then you may be experiencing a common condition called dry eye. There are many different reasons why you would have dry eye, but no matter what, you need to take it seriously. If dry eye goes untreated, you could do some real damage to your vision. Read on to learn more about dry eye and the treatment options.
What it is
Dry eye occurs when your tears don’t provide adequate lubrication for a variety of reasons. You may not produce enough tears or you produce poor-quality tears. This leads to inflammation and damage to the surface of the eye.
Symptoms include a stinging, burning or scratching sensation in your eyes, mucus in or around the eyes, sensitivity to light, the feeling that you have something in your eye, blurred vision, eye fatigue or watery eyes. You may have difficulty with contact lenses as well. Symptoms usually affect both eyes.
There are many causes of dry eye. This syndrome becomes more prevalent in men and women as we age. Women tend to get dry eye more often than men because of hormonal changing and the use of oral contraceptives, which can affect the consistency of tears. Certain medications such as antihistamines, decongestants and blood pressure medications can cause dry eye as well. Smoke, wind or excessive sun are environmental conditions that cause dry eye. If you’ve had an injury to your eye or eyelid surgery, you may be more prone to dry eye.
Diagnosis and treatment
If you believe you have dry eye, start with deliberate blinking, avoid the environmental irritants that could be causing it and add a home humidifier. Be sure to schedule an appointment to see your eye doctor to get a thorough evaluation and treatment plan.
Your doctor will do a comprehensive eye exam and run tests that measure tear production and tear quality. Treatment for occasional or mild dry eye symptoms may begin with over-the-counter eyedrops, also known as artificial tears. Prescription medications such as oral or topical antibiotics can help reduce inflammation. LipiFlow thermal pulsation treatment and BlephEx are two in-office treatment options that help patients find great relief.
If you’re suffering from dry eye, relieve your signs and symptoms while you wait to see your eye doctor by using over-the-counter eyedrops and avoid or reduce the exposure to the irritants that may be to blame. To make an appointment, call (508) 836-8733 today.