Dry eye is a common condition that is caused by inadequate tear production.
Tears are essential for lubricating the eyes and, over time, chronic dry eye can damage your eyes.
If you suffer from an ongoing feeling of discomfort in the eyes, schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist at Wilkinson Eye Center.
What Are The Symptoms Of Dry Eye?
Common symptoms of dry eye include:
- LipiFlow® (below)
- Chronic red, irritated eyes
- Gritty feeling, like sand, in the eyes
- Lack of tears/minimal tears, even when sad
- Inability to comfortably insert or wear contact lenses
- Inability to wear contact lenses for longer than a couple of hours
If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, don’t hesitate to schedule an eye exam with your ophthalmologist.
Types Of Dry Eye
Although they share many of the same symptoms, there are three types of dry eye that differ by cause, including:
Evaporative Dry Eye (EDE)
When the meibomian glands along the edges of the eyelids are clogged, not enough oil is produced and tears can’t flow as they should. If you do generate any tears, they evaporate too quickly to make a difference.
Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye (ADDE)
This type of dry eye condition is a malfunction of the lacrimal glands, wherein they cannot produce the water element of tears. This often develops in persons with certain autoimmune disorders.
Mixed Dry Eye (MDE)
This type is when a person has a combination of both EDE and ADDE.
What Causes Dry Eye?
The underlying cause of dry eye is inadequate tear production, which can be attributed to one or more factors, including:
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Autoimmune disease
- Inflammation of the eyelid glands
- Eye trauma
- Tear duct blockage
- Physical abnormality affecting the eyes
- Side effect of laser surgery
- Side effect of certain prescription medications
- Overuse of eye drops
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Chronic smoking
How Is Dry Eye Diagnosed?
Diagnosis begins with a thorough eye exam by an ophthalmologist. He or she will measure the volume of tear production, the ratio of oil to water, and the rate of tear evaporation. Chemical testing may also be used to check for certain proteins in the tears.
Treatment Options For Dry Eye
Treatment options for dry eye include:
- Prescription eye drops to aid with comfort levels
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Artificial tear inserts
- Prescription drugs that stimulate tear production
- Blood serum eye drops
LipiFlow® For Dry Eye
Wilkinson Eye Center also offers LipiFlow for the treatment of meibomian gland disease, the leading cause of dry eye. LipiFlow is a non-invasive treatment that uses therapeutic heat and massage to open blocked ducts and restores gland function. Treatments are painless and symptoms can improve in as little as two weeks.
It’s worth noting that many people with dry eye try to resolve the condition themselves by using over-the-counter eye drops. This can actually make the condition worsen. Only an ophthalmologist can provide the appropriate treatment options.
Find relief for your dry eye symptoms. Schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist at Wilkinson Eye Center today.