If you have dry eye syndrome, you are not alone. Studies have shown that, in some populations, up to 50 percent of people have dry eyes. Keep reading to find out more information about dry eye syndrome and how one of the expert doctors at Optometrists of Lansing can help.
How Do I Know if I Have Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is a condition that occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears. If you do not produce enough tears, it is challenging to keep your eyes moisturized and healthy. Dry eye is a common condition, especially among older adults. Dry eye is also known as dry eye disease, keratitis sicca, or dysfunctional tear syndrome.
What Are the Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome?
The symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:
- A burning or aching sensation
- Heavy, fatigued, or sore eyes
- Watery eyes
- Itchiness in the eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Dryness or redness
- Blurred vision
- The feeling that something is in your eye
Pay attention to which symptoms you have so you can tell your doctor.
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
There are several different reasons you may have dry eye syndrome. One of the most common reasons people develop dry eye is age. Dry eyes are a natural occurrence as you get older — most people who are over the age of 65 experience dry eye symptoms. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also cause dry eye syndrome. Dry eyes can also be a side effect of medications or pre-existing diseases such as thyroid problems, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis. If you live in a dry climate, you may also be more at risk for dry eye syndrome.
How Is Dry Eye Syndrome Diagnosed?
During an eye exam, your eye doctor will ask questions about your medical history. They will also ask about any current medications you take and the environment in which you live. These details can help them determine what the root cause of your dry eye symptoms is. They may also do an external exam of your eye, check your cornea with a bright light, and measure your tears. These are all an essential part of the diagnostic process when diagnosing dry eye.
How Is Dry Eye Syndrome Treated?
Dry eye syndrome is usually a chronic condition. This often means that treatment is about relieving symptoms, at least at first. Artificial tears are a common solution for dry eyes. If your eyes don’t produce enough tears, you can use over-the-counter artificial tears to help. There are also eye drops that can increase your production of natural tears. Sometimes, a doctor will decide to block a patient’s tear ducts using punctal plugs. Punctal plugs help keep tears in the eye for longer and can either be temporary or permanent. The kind of punctal plug you have will depend on the severity of your dry eye symptoms. Other treatments include ointments or eyelid cleaners for inflammation. Your eye doctor may also recommend some basic solutions, including using a humidifier more frequently, wearing sunglasses outside, drinking plenty of water, and blinking.
If you are tired of dealing with the frustrating symptoms of dry eye syndrome, the Optometrists of Lansing can help. The experienced Drs. Carrigan, Estes, and Kennedy will develop a custom treatment plan to treat your dry eye so you will not have to struggle with the symptoms any longer.