Dry eye syndrome can cause problems if your body doesn’t produce enough tears or when the tears drain away from the eye too quickly. Your tears promote clear vision, help prevent injury or infection and keep the eyes lubricated and nourished.
SYMPTOMS AND DIAGNOSIS OF DRY EYE SYNDROME
Anyone can feel that their eyes are dry in an arid environment or after extensive computer work. Dry eye syndrome, however, usually means more severe and long-lasting symptoms. These include eye irritation, with a gritty, scratchy or burning feeling. Some people have excessive watering or complain of blurred vision. Others report feeling that they have something in the eye. To make a diagnosis, your optometrist will start with a patient history Next comes an eye examination to evaluate the eyelids and lining with a bright light and a magnifying device. The use of a special dye can show changes to the cornea and help the doctor evaluate tear flow. Over the past few years, Dr. Boyle has implemented InflammaDry, a device that measures the severity of inflammation in the tears, to aid in the diagnosis of dry eye.
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
Most of the things that can cause dry eyes are not under your control but do respond to dry eye treatment. They include:
- Growing older, as tear production decreases with age.
- Hormonal changes such as those that occur in pregnancy and menopause.
- Side effects from antihistamines, anti-depressants, blood pressure medications, decongestants and oral contraceptives.
- Other eye problems such as inflammation of the eye or eyelid.
- Diseases and conditions such as thyroid problems, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Long hours at a computer, wearing contact lenses, low humidity or excessive wind, and LASIK surgery.
Dry Eye Treatment
Treatment always starts with the simplest, least invasive method, special eye drops that mimic natural tears. Other types of eye drops can stimulate tear production. Gel plugs can be used to block the tear ducts if the problem is excessive drainage. Other symptoms such as inflammation should also be treated. Occasionally surgery to block the tear ducts may be required. You can help with self-management strategies such as drinking plenty of water, increasing the humidity in your environment and taking an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement. It’s also important to blink frequently, especially when reading, watching television or using a computer. Always wear wraparound sunglasses.
Schedule an Appointment Today!
If you have symptoms of dry eye syndrome or any other eye concerns, please contact Olson Optical, at 507-375-2020. Dr. Boyle treat patients of all ages, whether you need preventive eye care, dry eye treatment, glasses, contact lenses or close monitoring for diseases such as macular degeneration.