If you suffer the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye disease, you are probably curious what causes the condition and how to best combat it. Understanding the factors that contribute to dry eyes and the available treatment options is the first step to finding relief from chronic symptoms.
Read on as the team at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons answers the most frequently asked questions about dry eye disease.
Why are my eyes so dry and itchy?
Most cases of dry eye are caused by a problem with the meibomian glands. These glands secrete oil into the tear film to prevent tears from prematurely evaporating off the surface of the eyes. Thickened oil deposits can obstruct the glands, preventing the oil from reaching the tear film; as a result, tears evaporate too quickly and the eyes dry out.
There are many other reasons why you may be experiencing dry eye symptoms. Perhaps you took a decongestant or antihistamine that dried out your eyes; maybe a hormonal condition like menopause or a pre-existing medical condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogren’s syndrome is to blame. The answer may be as simple as you spend too much time looking at digital screens, or you wear your contact lenses longer than what is recommended.
Is tearing really a symptom of dry eyes?
Yes. Ironically, watery eyes or excessive tearing can suggest dry eye disease. Excessive tearing is the body’s way of overcompensating for the lack of moisture that irritates the eyes. Unfortunately, these tears don’t have the right composition and do not adequately lubricate the eyes.
How is dry eye disease diagnosed?
If you suspect you have dry eye disease, you should undergo a comprehensive eye exam with our doctors. We will inquire about the history and frequency of your symptoms and take a detailed medical history. We will evaluate the quality and quantity of your tears and examine the structures of your eyes before providing a definitive diagnosis.
What treatments does Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons offer for dry eye disease?
Our team offers a range of dry eye solutions. The treatment or treatments we suggest for your case depends on the root cause of your problem and the severity of your symptoms.
Sometimes medicated eyedrops are enough to keep symptoms at bay. We can prescribe eyedrops to reduce inflammation contributing to dry eye and help you produce more natural tears.
Light therapy or thermal pulsation therapy can help unblock meibomian glands. Another option is to close the tear ducts to keep the tears on the ocular surface (this can be done using heat or tiny silicone plugs).
Why is it important to seek treatment for dry eyes?
Getting prompt attention for dry eyes is important because a chronic lack of adequate tears can eventually lead to corneal damage. In the most severe cases, vision loss can occur due to the effects of untreated dry eyes.
Don’t ignore dry eye symptoms any longer! Contact Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons today to schedule an evaluation with our team.