If your eyes are frequently red, scratchy, and irritated, you may be suffering from dry eye syndrome. Dr. Kenneth Miller and his team at the Laser Vision Correction Center of New Jersey can identify the cause of dry eye symptoms and determine a treatment plan during a consultation at their West Orange, NJ, practice. Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve relief.
Causes of Dry Eye
Dry eye syndrome is the result of a lack of adequate tears. Tears keep the eye surface lubricated, and protect against infection. Without that protection, the eyes are much more vulnerable and uncomfortable.
There are three fundamental causes of dry eye:
- Decreased tear production
- Increased evaporation of tears
- An imbalance of the oil, mucus, and water that compose tears
A number of conditions can spur dry eye syndrome, including overexposure to wind or smoke, eyelid problems, certain medications, reduced blinking or an incomplete blink, and the natural aging process. Certain medical conditions such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can also result in dry eye.
Dry eye syndrome symptoms include:
- Stinging, burning, or itching eyes
- Red eyes
- A sensation that something is in your eye
- Stringy mucus in or around eyes
- Watery eyes
- Blurred vision
- Eye fatigue
While none of these symptoms alone present a major risk to your health, they can affect your overall quality of vision. Many patients with dry eye syndrome have difficulty wearing contact lenses, and find it hard to tolerate dry environments, such as the inside of an airplane or an air-conditioned room. Dry eye can also compromise your ability to read, use a computer, or drive at night.
Our team of eye care professionals is here to help you find relief.
How to Alleviate Discomfort
In the case of mild dry eye, a number of simple steps can be taken to ease discomfort. Regularly replenishing lost tears with over-the-counter eye drops or artificial tears can help to keep the eye moist, and a humidifier can add moisture to the air, reducing symptoms. Wearing wraparound glasses or eyewear with a side shield also helps to slow tear evaporation. Making sure to take breaks from activities like reading, or working on the computer can also make a substantial difference in preventing dry eye.
For persistent or serious dry eye syndrome, a more intensive approach may be necessary. After analyzing your symptoms with a special piece of diagnostic equipment known as a keratograph, our doctors can determine the cause of your condition, and recommend a course of treatment. In general, treatments focus on increasing tear production, improving tear quality, and stopping tears from draining away too quickly.
Depending on the cause, your doctor may recommend medicated eye drops, anti-inflammatory medication, or special contact lenses. In more extreme cases, your doctor may recommend punctal plugs, which are placed during an in-office procedure to close the tear ducts and reduce tear drainage. In other cases, unclogging the oil glands of the eyelids with MiBoFlo Thermoflo therapy may be necessary.
Is It Time to See a Doctor?
If you are experiencing prolonged symptoms of dry eye syndrome, reach out today to schedule an appointment. Our team of eye care professionals is here to help you find relief.