Dry eye is a common condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and providing clear vision. Tears provide lubrication, reduce the risk or eye infection, wash away foreign matter in the eye and keep the surface of the eye smooth and clear. Dry eyes can result from an improper balance of tear production and drainage. People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or have a poor quality of tears.
Dry eyes can result from many causes or a combination of causes.
Age: people over age 65 experience some symptoms of dry eyes
Gender: Women often experience dry eye symptoms due to natural hormonal changes caused by pregnancy and menopause, as well as oral contraceptives.
Medications: Antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications, and antidepressants may all reduce tear production.
Medical Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid problems, as well as some eye diseases and conditions may all cause dry eyes to develop.
Environmental Conditions: Smoke, wind and dry climates can all increased tear evaporation. Also, failure to blink, such as long periods of staring at a computer screen may cause dry eye symptoms.
Other factors: Long-term contact lens use or refractive eye surgeries, such as LASIK, may also cause decreased tear production and dry eyes.
Dry Eye Treatment
The doctor can diagnose dry eyes as part of your comprehensive eye examination. Based on the severity and longevity of your dry eyes, the doctor may recommend one of the following treatment options to help alleviate the symptoms:
- Over-the-counter preservative-free artificial tears
- Prescription eye drops
- Omega-3 fatty acid supplements
- Silicone or gel-like removable plugs to block the tear ducts and keep the natural tears on the eyes longer
- Surgery to permanently close the tear ducts
- Preventative self-care, such as conscious blinking when reading on using a computer for long periods of time, increasing the humidity level of your home and wearing wrap-style sunglasses when outside to reduce exposure to drying winds and sun.
Our doctors can assist in the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye. If you would like more information call (763) 241-1090 or schedule an appointment today here.