Dry Eye Treatment

What is Dry Eye?

Optometrist Columbia, TN │ Eye Care │ Family Eye Care and Dry Eye Treatment Center

Dry eye is a common problem, particularly in older adults, and may affect as many as 1 in 5 Americans. The condition is frequently overlooked or misdiagnosed! Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye, the cornea. Dry eye is a condition in which tears do not sufficiently lubricate and nourish the eye surface which may lead to irritating symptoms or a decreased quality of vision. People with dry eye syndrome may not produce enough tears or the tears they do produce may not function properly. The condition may be better thought of as dysfunction of the tear film!

What Causes Dry Eye?

The development of dry eyes can have many causes and more than one cause may contribute to your dry eye symptoms.

  • Age: Dry eye is frequently a part of the natural aging process. The majority of people over the age of 65 experience some symptoms of dry eye.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop dry eye associated with hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, use of oral contraceptives, and menopause.
  • Medications: Many medicines, including antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications and antidepressants, can affect the tear surface.
  • Medical Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid problems, and other diseases can cause dry eye and severe symptoms. Ocular Conditions: Eyelid disease (blepharitis or meibomitis), corneal surface disease or poor position of the eyelids can also be associated with dry eye.
  • Environmental Conditions: Exposure to smoke, wind, dry climates, and staring at a computer screen for long periods of times can aggravate dry eye symptoms.
  • Other Factors: Long term use of contact lenses, refractive eye surgeries, such as Lasik, or other eye surgeries can be associated with dry eye.

What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?

The most common symptoms are itching, burning, tearing, gritty feeling, red eyes, or vision that fluctuates (particularly with blinking). These symptoms may often be confused with or misdiagnosed as allergy or infection.

Diagnosis of Dry Eye

Accurate diagnosis relies on a detailed and targeted history, a careful slit lamp exam, and specific testing. Based on the clinical findings, the severity of disease is assessed and categorized by established guidelines.

Treatment of Dry Eye

The treatment selected is based on the stage of the dry eye disease and severity as determined by the dry eye examination. Treatment may involve tear supplements, medications, procedures, life style modifications, or a combination of all the above.