Dry eye syndrome (DES or dry eye) is a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. Its consequences range from minor irritation to the inability to wear contact lenses and an increased risk of corneal inflammation and eye infections.
Our Dry Eye Doctor Can Soothe Your Sore Eyes!
If you are bothered by the annoying, painful symptoms of dry eye syndrome, you are in good company. In the United States, the number of people estimated to have dry eyes is about five million! At Family Eye Center, our dry eye doctor is knowledgeable about effective ways to alleviate your eye irritation. We will perform a comprehensive eye exam in our office in Luverne, Troy, or Enterprise, AL, to diagnose your condition and recommend the best personalized dry eye treatment.
What are the typical symptoms of dry eye?
Symptoms vary between each individual patient, yet the most common signs include:
- Stinging or burning eyes
- Feeling that sand is stuck in your eye
- Red or pink eyes
- Scratchy sensation
- Constant need to rub eyes or blink
- Blurred vision
- Uncomfortable contact lenses
- Watery eyes (dry eyes can sometimes trigger production of extra tears)
While none of these effects of dry eye are usually dangerous or threatening to your sight, they can disrupt daily life and make typically easy tasks into a challenge, such as reading or viewing a computer screen. If you have any of the above symptoms, please contact us to schedule an eye exam with our dry eye doctor in Enterprise, Troy, or Luverne, AL.
What causes dry eye syndrome?
Dry eye results from a lack of lubricating moisture on the surface of your eyes. This insufficiency could be due to either weak tear production or a low quality tear composition. When your tears do not possess enough fatty lipids, they evaporate too rapidly and eyes dry out faster than normal.
A number of lifestyle habits, environmental conditions, and health issues can lead to the development of dry eye syndrome. Some examples are:
- A problem with your tear producing glands, such as blepharitis
- Aging, particularly with females
- Systemic disease, such as rosacea, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or Sjogren’s Syndrome
- Post-LASIK procedures
- Long periods spent reading or viewing a computer, which leads to less blinking
- Wearing contact lenses
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Side effects of certain medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs
- Air-conditioning or heating
- Pollution in your atmosphere, including from cigarette smoke
- Extreme temperatures, strong winds, a dry climate
What is the best dry eye treatment?
Dry eye treatment must be personalized to address the specific culprit behind your condition. Therefore, the best treatment for one person may not be helpful for another person, depending upon what is causing their symptoms. Our dry eye doctor will evaluate your unique circumstances to design the most efficient treatment plan for you.
Medical dry eye treatment includes:
- Eye lubricants – eye drops or ointments
- Artificial tear inserts, which release moisture gradually into your eyes
- Antibiotics to reduce the bacteria in your eyes that destroy healthy lipids in tears
- Anti-inflammatory drugs to stimulate manufacture of natural tears
- Punctal Plugs: for very severe cases of dry eye, our dry eye doctor may insert punctal plugs, which are small silicone plugs to block tear drainage. This is a quick, in-office procedure.
How can I prevent dry eye or treat it at home?
It is helpful to pay close attention to any possible causes for your dry eyes. Once you can identify the cause, you will be equipped to avoid problematic situations.
Some tips that help many of our patients in Luverne, Troy, and Enterprise, AL:
- Buy artificial tears and other over-the-counter drugs to provide temporary relief; check with our dry eye doctor about which brands we recommend
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to your environment
- Install an air filter in your home and/or office to remove airborne irritants
- Wear sunglasses (wraparounds are ideal) to block wind and ultraviolet rays
- Eye vitamins and fish oil supplements may help your eyes produce and maintain lubrication
- Drink enough – it is important to stay well hydrated