Dry Eye FAQs
Dry eye is a relatively common condition. It occurs when your eyes don't produce enough tears. It can also occur if the tears that you produce are of poor quality and cannot adequately lubricate your eyes. Fortunately, this treatment can be treated by our optometrists at DePoe Eye Center.
Q: Who Is at Risk for Dry Eye?
A: While anyone can develop dry eye, certain factors can increase your chance of developing the condition. These include:
- Age: People over 50 are at risk for dry eye.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions can cause this condition, such as diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, scleroderma, and vitamin A deficiency.
- Medications: Dry eye is a side effect of certain medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, acne medication, birth control, antidepressants, medication for high blood pressure, and hormone replacement therapy.
- Laser eye surgery can temporarily cause dry eye
- Damage to the tear glands due to radiation and inflammation
Q: What Are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?
A: Dry eye causes a variety of symptoms that can be uncomfortable and affect your vision. The symptoms include:
- A sensation that there is something in your eyes
- Burning or stinging feeling of the eyes
- Watery eyes as a result of the irritation caused by dry eye
- Stringy mucus in the eyes
- Redness of the eyes
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Trouble driving at night
- Eye Fatigue
Q: How Is Dry Eye Diagnosed?
A: Your optometrist can diagnose dry eye during an annual eye exam. If you tell your eye doctor that you are experiencing any symptoms of dry eye, they might perform a Schirmer test. During this test, your eye doctor will put a blotting strip of paper under your lower lid. After five minutes, your eye doctor will check the strip to see the amount of tears that were absorbed.
Q: How Is Dry Eye Treated?
A: There are a few treatment options for dry eye. The treatment that your optometrist chooses would depend on the severity of your condition. The treatment options include:
- Artificial tears: In minor cases, your doctor will prescribe artificial tears to keep your eyes lubricated.
- Tear-stimulating medication: In more severe cases, your eye doctor will prescribe a medication that is designed to help you produce more natural tears.
- Eye inserts: For moderate to severe dry eye, your eye doctor might prescribe eye inserts. The inserts are made of artificial tears, and are about the size of a grain of rice, and fit between your eyeball and your lower lid. Throughout the day, the insert will dissolve slowly, keeping your eyes moist all day.
- Punctal plugs: Punctal plugs are effective for severe dry eye. The plugs will close your tear ducts, which reduces tear drain.
If you are suffering from dry eye, schedule an appointment with DePoe Eye Center. We have an optometrist in 7 locations: McDonough, Griffin, Macon, Jonesboro, Fayetteville, Stockbridge, Atlanta. We can create a dry eye treatment plan to treat your condition. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today.