What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is a condition in which a person doesn’t have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults.
With each blink of the eyelids, tears spread across the front surface of the eye, known as the cornea. Tears provide lubrication, reduce the risk of eye infection, wash away foreign matter in the eye and keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear. Excess tears in the eyes flow into small drainage ducts in the inner corners of the eyelids, which drain into the back of the nose. Dry eyes can occur when tear production and drainage is not in balance.
Causes of Dry Eye:
- Aging: As we age, tear production decreases. Men and women of any age can be affected. However, after menopause and during pregnancy, women are especially susceptible.
- Contact Lenses: Wearing contact lenses often increases tear evaporation. This can result in irritation, increased protein deposits, infection, and pain. Dry eye has been shown to be the leading cause of contact lens discomfort.
- Medications:A variety of common medications reduce tear secretion. These include decongestants, antihistamines, diuretics, beta-blockers, sleeping pills, antidepressants, pain relievers, and alcohol.
- Environment:Occasional or continual exposure to various environments can reduce eye lubrication. These include sunny, dry or windy conditions; areas with heaters, dehumidifiers, fans or air conditioners; work settings (i.e.; areas with chemicals or hair dryers), high altitudes, smoke or air pollution and sand, dust or airborne pollen.
- Auto Immune Disease:Diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Rosacea, Lupus and Sjogren’s syndrome can cause Dry Eye.
If you experience any of the symptoms below, you may have Dry Eye!
- Dry Sensation
- Scratchy, Gritty Feeling
- Excess Tearing (watery eyes)
- Mucous Discharge
- Irritation from Wind or Smoke
- Tired Eyes
- Light Sensitivity
- Contact Lens Discomfort
- Contact Lens Solution Sensitivity
- Lid Infections / Sties
- Sensitivity to Artificial Tears
- Eyelids Stuck Together at Awakening
At EyeCare Specialties, treatment options include:
- Artificial tears
- Warm compresses
- Ocular Supplements
- Prescription Medications