Our eyes rely on adequate moisture to keep them healthy. This is provided in the form of tear film, which is a complex blend of water, oils, mucus, and antibodies which is produced by special glands around the eyes. Dry eye or dry eye syndrome as it is often called is a reasonably common ocular condition that occurs when the eyes fail to make enough tear film to keep them comfortable, or because the tear film evaporates too quickly. This can lead to a range of unpleasant symptoms that can make the day to day use of your eyes difficult.
If you believe that you may be suffering from dry eye, our expert eye care associates will be delighted to comprehensively assess your eyes to determine the cause of your symptoms. We can then offer advice and treatment drawing on our extensive knowledge and experience. All appointments are carried out here at our offices in Midlothian and Richmond, VA. In the meantime, here is what you need to know about this condition.
There are a number of different contributing factors to the development of dry eye. These include the following:
The natural aging process which causes our glands that produce tear film to deteriorate
Menopause and other hormonal imbalances
The side effects from specific medications, such as some antihistamines and anti-depressants
Issues with your eyelids, such as blepharitis
Diseases that affect your ability to make tear film in the first place, such as collagen vascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome
Not blinking often enough / spending too much time staring at a screen
If you are experiencing any of the following, you could potentially be suffering from dry eye and should seek professional advice and support from our eye care associates. Please note that symptoms can occur in one eye or across both.
Eyes that feel dry, stiff, gritty and sore
Eyes that feel exceptionally tired
Mild sensitivity to light
It feels difficult to move your eyes around
Slightly blurred or distorted vision
Redness of the eyes
Stringy discharge from the eyes
Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options that can alleviate the symptoms associated with dry eye. In the first instance, you will probably be recommended to try artificial tears. As their name suggests, these are eye drops that are designed to replicate natural tear film in order to lubricate the eyes. Artificial tears can be very beneficial in the treatment of dry eye, but some patients need additional support to keep their eyes feeling healthy and functional.
Lipiflow is an innovative system that works though tiny, electronic impulses of heat and pressure sent directly to the glands responsible for making tear film. This unclogs them and enables them to start working correctly again and produce the necessary lubrication for your eyes to be healthy.
Punctual plugs are another possible solution. These are recommended when the fluid drains from your eyes too quickly. These tiny temporary plugs are placed into the tear drains to keep tear film covering the surface of the eye for longer.
Our experienced optical care associates will be happy to talk to you about the different treatment options available and make a recommendation as to which they think it most suitable to alleviate your symptoms. If you have any more questions about dry eye, or if you would like to arrange to come in and have a consultation with our expert team, please get in touch with our offices. We have premises based in Midlothian and Richmond, VA. Call us today to schedule your visit.