Dry eyes are a condition that occurs when your tears do not provide enough lubrication for your eyes. Normally, when you blink eyes, a film of tears spread over the eye, keeping the surface clear and smooth. This film of tears is important to ensure good vision. In cases where the eyes do not make enough tears or something affects the number of tears you make, dry eyes can occur.
Common symptoms of dry eye include:
- Stinging and burning.
- Blurry vision.
- A gritty or scratchy feeling.
- Mucus in or around the eyes.
- Red or irritated eyes.
- Wearing contact lenses is painful.
As people age, they tend to create fewer tears due to hormonal changes. Both women and men can experience dry eyes, however, it is more common in women. There are many other causes of dry eye as well including certain diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, wearing contact lenses for long periods of time, blepharitis, spending time in smoky, windy, or dry climates, looking at a computer screen for long periods of time, having LASIK surgery, or taking certain medications.
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For individuals with mild dry eye symptoms, over-the-counter eye drops called artificial tears are often enough to reduce symptoms. However, if you have more serious or persistent symptoms, other options are available depending on the cause of your dry eye. Treatment options may include:
- Medications: There are various prescription medications that can help to alleviate dry eyes, including anti-inflammatory antibiotics or eye drops, eye inserts that work like artificial tears, tear-stimulating drugs, and autologous blood serum drops.
- Procedure to close tear ducts: If your tears are leaving your eyes too quickly, this treatment may be helpful. It involves partially or totally closing your tear ducts.
- Special contact lenses: Today, there are many different types of contact lenses, and some are created specifically for dry eyes.
- Unblocking oil glands: Using warm compresses or eye marks every day can help to clear up blocked oil glands.
- Light Therapy: A special technique called intense-puled light therapy paired with massaging the eyelids can help patients with severe dry eyes.
If you regularly have dry eyes, try avoiding situations that tend to trigger your symptoms. For example, add moisture to the air during the winter months with a humidifier, wear protective eyewear when spending time in dry or windy environments, avoid smoking, and use artificial tear eye drops regularly. These steps should help you to control mild symptoms so that they do not negatively impact your daily life.
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Cataract Surgeon, Opthalmologist, Cornea & External Diseases Specialist
Dr. Archana Gupta is a board certified ophthalmologist. She specializes in cataract, cornea, external diseases and refractive surgery.
Are you bothered by annoying dry eye symptoms? If so, contact our Boca Raton & Tamarac, FL office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gupta, who is dedicated to providing each of her patients with personalized care.
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