Dry eyes are a common condition of the eye. It occurs when your eyes don't produce enough tears to keep them lubricated. It can also occur if the tears that you produce are of poor quality and dissolve before lubricating your eyes. Fortunately, the doctors at Mills Eye Care can treat the condition.
Q: How Is Dry Eye Diagnosed?
A: Dry eyes can be diagnosed during an eye exam. If you are experiencing the symptoms of this condition, your optometrist will run a Schirmer test. During this test, your optometrist would put a blotting strip under your lower lid. After five minutes, they will measure the number of tears that were soaked with tears.
To determine the quality of your eyes, eye drops with a special dye would be used to create a staining pattern, and the eye doctors would measure how long it took the tears to evaporate.
Q: What Are the Risk Factors For Dry Eye?
A: While anyone can develop dry eye, certain factors can increase your risk of developing this condition.
- Age: As you get older, your eyes produce fewer tears.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions can cause dry eyes. These include diabetes, lupus, thyroid disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and vitamin A deficiency.
- Medication: Certain medications list dry eyes as a side effect. These include decongestants, antihistamines, acne medication, birth control, drugs for high blood pressure, and hormone replacement therapy.
- Laser eye surgery: Laser eye surgery can cause dry eyes; however, it is often temporary.
- Tear gland damage: Tear gland damage resulting from radiation or inflammation can cause dry eye.
- Environmental factors: Being exposed to wind, smoke, or pollution can cause dry eye.
Q: What Are the Symptoms Of Dry Eye?
A: The symptoms of dry eyes can make you uncomfortable, and also affect your vision. They include:
A sensation that there is something in your eye
- Red eyes
- Stinging eyes
- Stringy mucus coming from the eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Trouble driving at night
- Eye fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Trouble wearing contacts
Q: How Is Dry Eye Treated?
A: The treatment that your eye doctor would choose would depend on the severity of your condition.
- Artificial tears: This is the most common treatment for mild to moderate dry eye.
- Eye inserts: Eye inserts are a slow-release form of artificial tears. The tiny insert goes between the lids, and melts gradually during the day, keeping your eyes lubricated.
- Restasis: Restasis is a prescription medication that can help you produce more natural tears.
- Punctal plugs: In more severe cases, your eye doctor may want to use punctal plugs to partially or completely close off the tear ducts. This will keep the tears from draining, keeping your eyes moist.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of dry eyes, schedule an appointment with Mills Eye Care in Mooresville. Our doctors of optometry will test your eyes to determine the best treatment method for your condition. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today.