Dry eyes are both a symptom and a condition in their own right. Unsurprisingly, the condition takes its name from the main indicator which characterizes it – which is gritty, stiff and dry-feeling eyes. This can, at best, make life unpleasant for the sufferer. However, there are also many other symptoms that can interfere with their ability to function day today.
Dry eye is much more common than you might think. In many instances, it resolves itself without the need for professional intervention. This means that many people who have had an episode of dry eye, or dry eye syndrome, may not have even realized it. However, for some patients, dry eyes become a chronic condition that requires professional intervention to get the symptoms under control.
We understand the frustration of suffering from dry eye and are pleased to be able to offer our patients a number of different treatments that have been proven to alleviate the symptoms of the condition and improve your quality of life.
There are predominantly two key causes of dry eye. In the first, the patient’s eyes fail to make enough natural lubrication to keep the eyes functioning and healthy. The second sees the tear film, which is the lubricant that your body uses to enable the eyes to work, draining from the eyes too quickly. The tear film is a complex mixture of oils, proteins, and water. It cannot be easily replicated unless proper teardrops are prescribed.
Dry eye is more common as we get older, and this is believed to be partly due to the deterioration of the meibomian glands, which are responsible for producing tear film. Up to a third of people aged 65 have some degree of dry eyes. Other common contributing causes to the development of this condition include:
Hormonal imbalances, such as pregnancy or menopause
Blepharitis or other eye conditions
Side effects from taking certain medications
A diagnosis of myopia (near-sightedness)
Excessive amounts of screen time
Suffering from specific diseases including collagen vascular disease\
Fortunately, there is a range of potential treatments for dry eyes that can alleviate your symptoms and enable you to see clearly and comfortably again. Precisely what treatment we will recommend will depend on the severity of your dry eyes. However, common treatments include the following:
Eye drops. The most commonly recommended treatment, eye drops are designed to replace natural tear film. There are several different types available, and our team will be able to recommend which is right for you.
Changes to your medication. If your dry eye is believed to be a side effect of your medication, it may be worth asking your doctor if you can try an alternative that will eliminate your dry eye syndrome.
Reducing your screen time. This may not always be possible but cutting back on screen time wherever you can cut your risk of developing myopia (nearsightedness). Take regular breaks to let your eyes adjust to objects that are much further away.
Try Lipiflow. If eye drops alone are not giving you enough relief from your symptoms, you may be recommended a treatment called Lipiflow. This innovative system works by transmitting tiny, electronic impulses of heat and pressure. These stimulate the glands responsible for making tear film. In doing so, they become unclogged and can begin working more efficiently, producing the necessary lubrication to keep your eyes healthy.
Punctual Plugs. Not anywhere near as scary as they sound, punctual plugs are tiny little devices that fit into the drains that would usually clear your eyes of fluid. By closing these you can prevent fluid from draining too quickly and causing dry eye syndrome.
If you are concerned that you might have dry eyes and you would like to book a consultation with our expert ocular care team, please get in contact with El Paso Eye Care in El Paso, TX today. We look forward to helping you achieve clear and comfortable vision once more (915) 800-7991.