Your tears are crucial for maintaining healthy eyes and providing clear vision. They wash away foreign matter, keep the surface of your eye smooth and clear, and reduce the risk of developing an eye condition.
Dry eye is a condition that occurs when your eyes are not making enough tears (aqueous tear-deficient dry eye) or the right quality of tears (evaporative dry eye) to nourish and lubricate your eye.
Anyone can develop dry eye at some point during their lifetime. If you live in an arid environment, like Colorado, your chances of having dry eye symptoms are significantly increased.
What Causes Dry Eye?
Dry eye is more common with increasing age, certain ethnicities, and in women.
Other causes may include:
- Birth control
- Refractive surgery (LASIK)
- Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis
- High blood pressure medication
- Low humidity climates
- Environmental conditions, such as smoke or wind
Who Can Develop Dry Eye?
Anyone can develop dry eye in their lifetime, whether it is chronic dry eye or situational dry eye.
What Are The Symptoms of Dry Eye?
If you have dry eye you may experience:
- Feeling as if something is in your eye, like sand
- Red, painful eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Burning or stinging sensation
- Blurred vision
- Mucus discharge around eyes
How is Dry Eye Treated?
The form of treatment that is right for you will depend on the cause of your dry eye condition. The best course of action is to have a consultation with one of our Optometrists to determine the cause of your dry eye and discuss the subsequent treatment options.
Common treatments include
- Artificial Tears and Ointments – Available over the counter, and often the first step in treating your dry eye. They come in a wide selection of ingredients and forms, including thick ointment for overnight wear.
- Steroid Eye Drops – Steroid eye drops are prescribed when inflammation of the eye and surrounding tissue requires treatment. They are generally used as a short-term solution to quickly manage your dry eye symptoms. The Optometrist may advise you to use these alongside artificial tears or restasis.
- Punctal plugs – To help your tears remain on the surface of your eye longer, the Optometrist may recommend the insertion of a small, sterile device called a punctal plug.
- Restasis – You may be prescribed restasis eye drops to use in conjunction with artificial tears. Their purpose is to reduce the inflammation in your eye and promote natural tear production.
The goal of treating your dry eye is to control or eliminate your symptoms, as well as maintain and preserve your vision.