Dry eyes are a chronic condition in which there is an insufficient amount of tears to lubricate the eye, or the quality of the tears is poor. Tears are necessary for preserving the health of the front of the eye, and to maintain clear vision.
People with dry eyes often experience symptoms of irritated, gritty, scratchy, or burning eyes, a feeling of something in their eyes, excess watering (believe it or not), and blurred vision. Progressively advanced dry eyes may cause damage to the front surface of the eye and impair vision.
There are many reasons for dry eye and there may be multitude of factors, which may include:
- Age– dry eyes are a natural part of the aging process
- Gender – females are more likely to suffer from dry eyes due to hormonal changes, especially after menopause.
- Medical Conditions– Dry eyes are more likely to occur in persons with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Lupus, and thyroid problems. Also, problems with inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis) can cause dryness problems as well.
- Medications– General medication classes including anti-histamines, anti-depressants, hypertension, decongestants, birth control, and many other common drug classes all cause dry eye.
- Environmental Conditions– Wind, sun, indoor air conditioning or heating systems also contribute to the problem.
- Other Factors – Long term contact lens wear or sleeping with a fan on at night can cause dry eye.
So how do we treat dry eye?
There are many different ways to combat dry eyes. Depending on the root cause of each case, a specific treatment option will be tailored to achieve relief. Here are some of the options:
- Artificial tears
- Diet changes
- Lid hygiene
- Prescription eye drops such as Xiidra or Restasis
- Punctal plugs
- Changes in environmental factors
- Medication Changes
If you have chronic dry eyes, remember that there are treatment options available. Most people are unaware that medical insurance can usually be used for dry eye visits. Give your office a call to schedule your dry eye evaluation today.