What Is Dry Eye?
Tears are necessary for overall eye health. Dry eye occurs when the eyes aren’t sufficiently moisturized, leading to itching, redness and pain from dry spots on the surface of the eye. The eyes may become dry and irritated because the tear ducts don’t produce enough tears, or because the tears themselves have a chemical imbalance. People who suffer from dry eyes may have difficulty performing certain daily activities. People usually begin experiencing symptoms as they age, but the condition can also result from certain medications, conditions or injuries. Dry eye is not only painful, it can also damage the eye’s tissues and impair vision. Fortunately, many treatment options are available.
Tears are made up of three layers. If you’re like many people with dry eye symptoms, your condition is related to blocked meibomian glands and an inadequate protective layer of oils in your tears.
The most common form of dry eye is Evaporative Dry Eye, which affects 9 out of 10 (86%) dry eye cases. Evaporative Dry Eye results from a shortage of oil in your tears caused by a blockage in your eyelid (Meibomian) glands, leading tears to evaporate faster than normal. This lack of tear oil is often referred to as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD).
Common Symptoms Of Evaporative Dry Eye Disease
• Sensitivity to light
• Blurred vision
• Discomfort in windy or dry conditions
These Symptoms May Also Be Accompanied By:
• Difficulty performing visual tasks like reading, watching TV, computer work and driving
• Inability to wear contact lenses
• Constant use of eye drops
• Trouble being out in the sun
• Symptoms that worsen late in the day
Why Is It Important To Diagnose And Treat?
For some, symptoms such as itchy, burning, stinging eyes may seem like a nuisance. However, if left untreated, dry eye disease can have serious consequences including:
• Permanent corneal scarring
• Corneal ulcers
• Increased risk of eye infections
Diagnostic Testing & Treatment Options
A series of evaluations will be performed to determine the likely cause. Knowing the cause will help your doctor determine the best treatment option.
Some treatment options include the following:
• Blinking exercises
• Increasing humidity at home or work
• Medications such as artificial tears or moisturizing ointment
If you are suffering from dry eyes, don’t hesitate to make an appointment at our office!