Dry Eye Care Treatment
Dry eyes may seem to be nothing more than a minor inconvenience. However, if you suffer from chronically dry eyes you know it can be more than an annoyance. Dry eyes are a constant distraction. Red and irritated eyes can keep you from looking your best. Fortunately, there are ways to alleviate dry eyes.
What is Dry Eye ?
Hormonal changes are the most common cause of dry eye among women. It’s also more common among older adults, because tear production can change or slow down with age.
Allergies can also cause chronic dry eye. Common allergens include pollen, dust, pet dander, and perfumes. Other irritants include wind, smoke, and air conditioning.
Autoimmune diseases, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can decrease tear production. Certain conditions that reduce corneal sensation can also cause dry eye symptoms. Examples of these conditions include diabetes and herpes zoster.
Certain medications can also cause dry eye. Tell your ophthalmologist if you’re taking any of the following medications:
- Sleeping pills.
- Anti-anxiety medications.
- Pain relievers.
You may be able to switch to another medication. Never change your medication or dosage without consulting your doctor. An ophthalmologist can help you determine why you’re suffering from dry eyes.
What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye ?
While it may seem counterintuitive, some patients with dry eye experience excessive watering. This is a natural reaction to the irritation caused by dry eye. Other symptoms of dry eye include:
- Burning and stinging.
- A scratchy sensation.
- Red and itchy eyes.
- Stringy mucus around the eyes.
- Irritation from wind or smoke.
- Discomfort when wearing contacts.
How is Dry Eye Diagnosed ?
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of dry eye, contact your ophthalmologist for an examination. You may need to have your tear production tested. Your ophthalmologist can use special eye drops to study the condition of your eye.
How is Dry Eye Treated ?
The most common treatment for dry eye is artificial tears. These eye drops can lubricate your eyes and help maintain a normal moisture level. There are a variety of over-the-counter eye drops to choose from. Your ophthalmologist can help you select the best product for you condition.
You may also be able to conserve your tears using punctal plugs. Your ophthalmologist can insert a plug in your tear duct to prevent fluid from leaving your eye. In some cases, you may want ask your ophthalmologist to permanently seal your tear ducts.
Simple environmental changes can help some patients with dry eyes. You can use a humidifier to increase the moisture in your house. Use glasses to protect your eyes from the wind and avoid irritants like smoke.
If these methods don’t provide relief, your doctor may recommend a prescription medication. Medications can stimulate tear production and reduce inflammation in your eye.
Your ophthalmologist can help you choose an appropriate treatment based on your situation. Always care for your dry eyes as directed by a qualified ophthalmologist.