NeoVision offers Dry Eye Treatment
Definition of Dry Eyes
The natural tears that the eyes produce are composed of three layers: (1) the outer oily layer; (2) the middle watery layer; (3) the inner mucus layer. A film of tears, spread over the eye by a blink, makes the surface of the eye smooth and clear. Without the tear film, good vision would not be possible.
Dry eye condition occurs when eyes do not produce enough tears or when the tears that are produced are not of the proper quality in any of the three layers to keep the eyes lubricated and comfortable.
Symptoms of Dry Eyes
The severity and symptoms of dry eye vary from person to person. Symptoms of dry eye include:
- Irritated, scratchy, itchy, uncomfortable eyes
- The white of the eye becomes red and swollen
- A stinging or burning sensation in the eyes
- A feeling of a foreign body in the eye
- A feeling of hot and gritty eyes
- Blurred vision
- Eyes become sensitive to light
- Excessive tearing
- Loss of normal clear glassy luster in the eyes
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Usually both eyes are affected
It is important to note some people suffer from all symptoms, while others may experience only a few. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, be sure to ask your eye doctor about dry eye. If you have dry eye, your doctor can help you choose the right treatment option for you.
Causes of Dry Eyes
Dry eye condition is due to a deficiency of tear production by the lacrimal glands. It is often a normal part of the aging process but the degree of dryness varies from person to person. Although dry eye can occur in both men and women at any age, women are most often affected. This is especially true after menopause. Dry eye can result from:
- Problems with normal blinking
- Computer use
- Chemical or thermal burns to the eye
- Eye injuries and refractive surgeries (PRK & LASIK)
- Certain medications like antihistamines, decongestants, oral contraceptives, sleeping pills, blood pressure medication, diuretics, pain relievers, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications
- Environmental factors like sun, wind, cold, dry air, indoor heating and air conditioning, high altitudes etc.
- Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, thyroid disorders, autoimmune disorders (i.e. lupus), Bell’s palsy etc.
Treatment of Dry Eyes
Unfortunately, dry eye cannot be cured, but your eye’s sensitivity can be decreased and treatment prescribed so that your eyes remain healthy and your vision is not affected. Your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following treatments:
- regular blinking to spread tears over the eye, especially when using a steady focus (e.g. computer screen) for an extended period
- Changing environmental factors like avoiding hair dryers, wind and dust and increasing the level of humidity
- Avoid smoking
- Using artificial tear solutions
- Using long lasting moisturizing ointment, especially at bedtime
- Wearing wrap-around glasses to reduce the drying effect of the wind
- Temporarily or permanently plugging the tear ducts while manually replacing the tears with drops or ointments. Recently a prescription eyedrop is recommended to increase the tear production. Contact your ophthalmologist to check your eligibility for this treatment.
If untreated, dry eye can be more than just irritating or uncomfortable. Excessive dry eye can damage eye tissue and possibly scar the cornea, the transparent front covering of the eye, impairing vision. Contact lens wear may be more difficult due to the possibility of increased irritation and a greater chance of eye infection.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of dry eye, your ophthalmologist can perform “dry eye” tests using diagnostic instruments to give a highly magnified view and special dyes to evaluate the quality, amount and distribution of tears. Your ophthalmologist will also need to know about your every day activities, your general health, medications you are taking and about environmental factors that may be causing your symptoms.
If you have problems with dry eyes, schedule an appointment with NeoVision Eye Center at 510-431-5511 (Union City) or 650-962-4626 (Mountain View).