More Information About Dry Eye
Don’t suffer longer than you have to. Visit us for accurate diagnosis and compassionate management of your dry eye symptoms. Book your appointment and visit one of our Optometrists to begin treatment.
What is Dry Eye? Simply put, dry eye syndrome occurs when your eyes are inadequately lubricated. This lack of lubrication has one of two causes: the body does not produce enough tears, resulting in literal dry eyes; the body produces too many tears, but they are of low quality and evaporate before providing appropriate lubrication.
Symptoms – Some of dry eye’s symptoms are also associated with other eye diseases. It is important to undergo a comprehensive eye exam to assess the severity of your dry eye before beginning any treatment program.
- Eyes that feel itchy or have a persistent burning sensation (even with eyes closed)
- A feeling as if something (like sand) is stuck in your eye
- Red eye/conjunctivitis, often associated with some level of eye pain
- A stringy, sticky discharge from the eye
- Eyelids that feel heavy
- Eye fatigue
- Blurry vision, difficulty focusing (especially when other symptoms flare up)
Diagnosing Dry Eye – Dry eye is typically diagnosed via a comprehensive eye exam. We may also measure your tear production (both volume and quantity).
Treating Dry Eye – Unfortunately, dry eye syndrome isn’t always “curable”. However, in the majority of cases it can be successfully managed so that its impacts on your life are minimized as much as possible. These treatments include:
- Artificial tears – The least expensive treatment option available, artificial tears are quite effective and are generally the first step in any management program. Artificial tears come in different thicknesses, making some suitable for use during the day and others ideal for overnight use.
- Punctal plugs – Small plugs are inserted into the eye’s drainage canal. When inserted, they are invisible. These plugs greatly reduce the speed that tears drain and evaporate from the eye, allowing the tears more time to do their job.
- Restasis – This daily eyedrop stimulates the production of natural tears. It also helps reduce inflammation of the eye, which reduces the intensity of symptoms. While effective, it can take up to 90 days before full results are felt.
- Steroid eye drops – These work to reduce inflammation and are quite effective. However, long-term use can have adverse impacts (such as developing cataracts); we use these eye drops sparingly to alleviate painful symptoms.
- Expressing your meibomian glands – This procedure is uncomfortable but effective in improving eye lubrication. It’s long-term benefit far outweighs its short-term discomfort.
Influencing Dry Eye at Home – In addition to seeking help from our Optometrists, you can influence your dry eye symptoms by controlling your environment. Try these tips:
- When outdoors, always wear eyeglasses or sunglasses. Wearing glasses will greatly reduce how much wind strikes your eye, help prevent dust/allergens from entering the eye, and also protect your eyes from harmful UV light.
- Ensure your ambient room humidity is between 50% and 60%. This reduces how much moisture is lost to the air.
- If possible, stay indoors on days with poor air quality, low humidity, or when seasonal allergens are high.
- Reduce or cease smoking. Smoke is a significant irritant, and smoking influences your eye health directly (in addition to the physical smoke it creates).