Dry eye is a common condition, especially among older adults. It occurs when your eyes cannot produce enough tears, or when the quality of your tears is not sufficient to provide moisture for your entire eye. Although the condition is not sight-threatening, it can be irritating and greatly affect your quality of life. If you suffer from dry eye, you can find relief at our Clermont practice, where our doctors have a variety of methods to improve your condition. We begin with conservative treatments, including medicated eye drops, and can provide more aggressive treatments for extreme cases. Contact Fishman & Sheridan eyeCare Specialists today to schedule your consultation.
What Causes Dry Eye?
Most commonly, dry eye results from insufficient tear production. Several glands around your eyes are responsible for creating tears. These glands can begin to produce fewer tears for several reasons:
- Age: This is perhaps the most common cause of dry eye. In fact, the majority of adults over age 65 experience at least minor symptoms of dry eye.
- Menopause: Post-menopausal women are more likely to suffer from dry eye than men of the same age.
- Certain medical conditions: Disorders such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus can affect tear production.
- Environment: Dry climates, high winds, and long hours spent in front of a computer can cause your tears to evaporate quickly, even if the amount of tear production is normal.
Alternatively, your tear quantity may be sufficient, but the quality of your tears may be compromised. Tears are composed of layers of oil, mucus, and water, and when there is an imbalance in these layers, your eye may not receive enough moisture. Also, if you have an eyelid condition such as ectropion, it can make it difficult for tears to spread evenly across your eye.
The Symptoms of Dry Eye
If you suffer from watery eyes, you probably assume that you do not have dry eye. In fact, excess tearing is actually one of the most common symptoms of dry eye. Other common symptoms include:
- A scratchy or burning feeling in the eyes
- Eye fatigue
- Mucus around the eyes
- Light Sensitivity
- Blurred vision, especially at the end of the day, after reading, or when using a computer for a prolonged period
Dry Eye Diagnosis
Dry eye is usually easy to diagnose through an evaluation of your symptoms and an examination of your blinking patterns and eyelid health. Your doctor may also measure the quantity of your tears using the Schirmer test. Alternatively, he may examine the quality of your tears using dyed eye drops.
Effective Treatment Options
Eye drops are the most common form of dry eye care, and our doctors prescribe this treatment before recommending more aggressive options. Often, over-the-counter eye drops can substitute for natural tears, relieving the burning or itching sensation in your eyes. Prescription eye drops can also help to control corneal inflammation and control symptoms.
If you do not respond to an eye drop regimen, your doctor may recommend punctual plugs. During this treatment, your ophthalmologist will place tiny plugs in your tear ducts to prevent tear evaporation. These plugs may be temporary collagen plugs that dissolve over time, or a silicon plug maybe be left in for long-term relief. For very severe cases of dry eye, your doctor may permanently close your tear ducts.
Find Relief for Your Dry Eyes
If you suffer with dry eye, contact us today to schedule a consultation.