Do you often feel like you need to quit work early because your eyes are sore? Or perhaps your vision is getting blurry or you just can’t wait to get home to take your contacts out. These are just two of the many complaints I hear almost every day from our patients with dry eyes.
As the weather continues to get cooler and we are all trapped behind blowing heaters in our cars, or stuck inside dry offices while staring at a computer for long hours you might find you get one or more of these dry eye symptoms: scratchy eyes, blurry or fluctuating vision, tearing eyes, red eyes, burning eyes, discomfort in contact lenses or reduced tolerance in contact lenses.
Dry Eye can typically be broken down into two categories; aqueous tear deficiency or evaporative dry eye. Aqueous tear deficiency is the result of the main tear duct not producing enough of the watery component of the tear layer. Evaporative dry eye is due to a different problem: often it’s related to an inflammatory response in the meibomian glands (small glands in our eyelids). When these glands are inflamed they no longer produce an adequate amount of the oily part of the tear layer which is necessary to slow tear evaporation. The treatment for dry eye will very much depend on the etiology of the dry eye. Our Doctors of Optometry are skilled at diagnosing the specific causes of your dry eye and are then able to recommend the proper treatment.
Dry eye, if left untreated, is often debilitating to eyesight because there is a breakdown in the integrity of the corneal tissue. It is imperative that the tissue be healthy in order to have clear vision.
Causes of dry eyes are many and varied. Certain medications such as anti-depressants and anti-allergy meds, poor contact lens fit or improper wearing schedule, allergies, many autoimmune diseases, chemical or heat exposure, improper closure of the lid leaving parts of the cornea exposed, extended computer use with improper blinking, pregnancy, menopause and others.
Treatment may be a simple artificial tear supplement, special vitamins or may require a medicated drop or specially designed silicone plugs to block tear drainage. If you are suffering from mild, moderate or severe dry eyes come and see us for an appointment – mention your symptoms when booking and our Doctors will perform a specialized dry eye assessment.
Dr. Alanna Adams, OD
Mountain View Optometry