Did you know that dry eye affects more than 100 million people worldwide? The general consensus among medical experts is that the increased presence of computers, smartphones, and video games in our daily lives is the likely culprit. When we use our phones or computers for extended periods of time, we tend to blink less, which leads to a decrease in our eyes’ natural tear production and, in some cases, dry eye.
What Are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?
Common symptoms of dry eye include:
- Watery eyes. This might seem contradictory at first, but your eyes actually produce two kinds of tears: lubricating and reflex. Lubricating tears keep your eyes nourished and moist throughout the day, while reflex tears are a defense mechanism meant to protect your eyes from foreign objects like sand or smoke by flooding your eyes with non-lubricating tears. Dry eye results from insufficient lubricating tears.
- Dryness or grittiness. You may also experience itchy or burning sensations in your eyes.
- Blurry vision. This often occurs after extended periods of reading or looking at a screen.
- Red, irritated eyes that produce a mucusy discharge.
All these symptoms are commonly associated with allergies and infections, as well, so it’s important to see your eye doctor to figure out if your symptoms are actually a sign of dry eye.
What Causes Dry Eye?
There are a number of factors that can lead to dry eye:
- Age. As we get older, the glands in our eyelids produce less of the oils that prevent tears from evaporating off the eye. Decreased oil production causes tears to evaporate quickly, leaving the eye too dry.
- Diseases. Conditions like diabetes, Sjorgren’s syndrome, and Parkinson’s disease can affect your eyes’ ability to produce lubricating tears.
- Hormonal changes. Menopause in particular can be a contributing factor to dry eyes.
- Prescription medications. Certain high blood pressure medications, antihistamines, diuretics, antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills, sleeping pills, and pain medications, can contribute to dry eye. Some over-the-counter cold and allergy products, motion sickness remedies, and sleep aids can, as well.
Hot, dry, or windy conditions. High altitude, air conditioning, and smoke can also cause dry eye.
- Eye surgery. Some types of eye surgery, including LASIK, can aggravate dry eye.
- Reading, using a computer, or watching TV.
- Contact lenses.
How Do I Treat Dry Eye?
In some cases, you may be able to treat dry eye with over-the-counter or homemade options. That said, depending on the cause and/or severity of your symptoms, you may need a prescription treatment. Just to be safe, we recommend seeing an eye care professional who will be able to help you make an informed decision. Other dry eye treatment options include:
- Serum Tears. These are formulated using a small sample of your DNA, so they match your unique biology. This sterile, preservative-free solution acts as a tear substitute, and does not burn, tingle, or itch when used.
- Eyelid Expression. This in-office procedure opens the glands of your eyelids and helps stimulate new tear production.
- Punctal Plugs. These tiny silicone plugs help keep natural tears on your eyes longer by blocking the ducts through which tears normally drain. Don’t worry, though — the plugs can be removed if needed.
- Oasis TEARS PLUS Lubricant Eye Drops. Many over-the-counter artificial tears temporarily lubricate and soothe dry eyes, but don’t address the root cause of the problem. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe an eyedrop that will increase the production and quality of your tears. Oasis TEARS utilize the naturally occurring compound glycerin to protect and moisturize the surface of your eye without the use of harmful preservatives.
- Scleral Lenses. These large, gas-permeable contact lenses cover the entire cornea as well as the sclera (the white part of the eye), and represent an alternative to regular contact lenses. They’re a good choice if you have irregularly shaped corneas or severe dry eye, as they’re designed to create a tear reservoir that keeps the front of the eye moist while also improving your vision.
To learn more about the full range of dry eye treatments available to you, schedule an exam with one of the experienced eye care professionals at Kleiman Evangelista Eye Centers of Texas today.
A Team of Experts.
With decades of combined experiences, Kleiman Evangelista’s doctors provide industry-leading care using the latest, advanced technology and techniques.
Very courteous and professional. Treated me in a way that is top of the line. Made sure I understood everything they were doing. A really great experience.
- Michael S.
The physician was extremely knowledgeable and approachable. Actually, the entire staff was first class.
- Victoria C.
This place is amazing… everyone was great..the procedure itself was not as scary as I thought and now I’m not needing glasses anymore..not even readers
- Cinn R.
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