Diagnosing And Dealing With Dry Eye
Are you dealing with a stinging, burning, or scratchy sensation in your eyes? Are your eyes red, sensitive to light, or do you at times feel like something is irritating your eyes? If you said yes to either of these questions, you could be suffering from dry eye, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Dry eye occurs when tears aren’t able to provide adequate moisture, leading to the eyes becoming dry, red, and inflamed.
To help you diagnose and treat dry eye, the experts at Doctors Eyecare Wetaskiwin have explained the condition, its signs, and how to handle the issue.
What is dry eye? How is dry eye diagnosed?
The tears your eyes typically produce are necessary for overall eye health and clear vision. Your eyes dry out when they do not make enough tears or the produced tears do not have the proper chemical composition.
To diagnose dry eye, you will have to visit your optometrist. During the examination, your optometrist will ask you questions about your general health, your use of medications, and your home and work environments to determine any factors causing dry eye symptoms. Using a high-powered microscope known as a slit lamp, in conjunction with special dyes, will also allow your doctor to evaluate the quality, the amount, and the distribution of tears to detect signs of dry eye.
What causes dry eye? Can dry eye be cured?
Dry eye symptoms can result from the normal aging process, hormonal changes, exposure to certain environmental conditions, problems with normal blinking, or from medications such as antihistamines, oral contraceptives, or antidepressants. Dry eye can also be a symptom of general health problems, such as arthritis, which occurs because of UV exposure or simply occur because of your environment.
Unfortunately, dry eye is usually chronic and cannot be cured, but your comfort can be improved, and your eye health maintained through the use of artificial tears. For more severe dry eye, gels and ointments can be used, especially at bedtime. Your optometrist can prescribe the best drops for you, and in some cases, small plugs may be inserted in the tear ducts to slow drainage and loss of tears. Treating any underlying systemic disease or a change of diet to include items such as fish or flaxseed oil can also be helpful at times. New prescription medications are also now available to help your body produce more of its own tears. Eyelid hygiene is also essential when treating dry eye.
What are the signs of dry eye? Will the condition harm my eyes?
The common signs of dry eye include stinging, gritty, scratchy, and uncomfortable eyes. It can also cause fluctuating vision, or a burning feeling, or a feeling of something foreign within the eye. Some people experience tearing as a result of dry eye. This is a natural reflex of the eyes to create more tears to comfort the eye in response to dryness.
If dry eye is left untreated, it can be harmful. Excessive dryness in the eye can damage tissue and possibly scar the sensitive cornea of your eye, impairing vision. Similarly, dry eye can make contact lens wear more difficult due to increased irritation and a greater chance of eye infection. To keep dry eye symptoms in check, you and your doctor of optometry need to work together. You also need to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and if you have increased dryness or redness that is not relieved by the prescribed treatment, let your doctor know as soon as possible.
For more tips on eye care so you can maintain your eyesight and address possible problems, reach out to Doctors Eyecare Wetaskiwin today! We strive to deliver high-quality care, products, and service to people of all ages. Our friendly and knowledgeable doctors and staff look forward to the opportunity to provide you with an exceptional eye and vision care, along with the latest in eyewear technology and styling. Our products and services are available to clients across Wetaskiwin, Millet, Maskwacis, Pigeon Lake, and the surrounding area. We also offer eye surgery consultations and co-management with ophthalmologists.