Millions of people in the United States suffer from dry eyes every year. The condition causes discomfort and can cause a range of symptoms. If left untreated, it can cause severe damage to your eye health. The good news is that your optometrist can treat it. Read on to learn more.
A dry eye is a condition where the eyes cannot produce an adequate quantity or quality of tears to remain nourished and lubricated. Tears are essential for keeping your eye surface healthy for clear vision. You can experience symptoms like burning, scratchy, and a gritty sensation in your eyes. Advanced dry eyes can impair your vision and damage your eye surface.
A comprehensive eye examination can help diagnose dry eyes. Your optometrist will test your condition by evaluating the quality and quantity of tears your eyes produce. They will examine your history to determine your symptoms. In doing so, they will also take note of environmental, medication, and health problems that contribute to dry eyes.
Your optometrist will also examine your blink dynamics and lid structure. They will use magnification and a bright light to evaluate your cornea and eyelids. They will measure your tears to check for any abnormalities in their quality and quantity. Special dyes put in your eyes will monitor your tear flow. They can observe your eye surface to note changes caused by inadequate tears.
After diagnosing your problem, they can start by recommending treatment for underlying factors. For example, if they suspect a medication you are taking, they may recommend a different one to reduce such side effects.
Your optometrist can prescribe medications to treat your dry eyes, depending on the extent of the condition. They can help reduce inflammation on your eyelids, which prevents oil secretion from your oil glands. You may have to take antibiotics to help reduce the inflammation. Most of these antibiotics are oral medicine. However, some are ointments and eyedrops.
You can get prescription eyedrops to reduce cornea inflammation. They contain immune-suppressing corticosteroids or cyclosporine. Your optometrist will advise against using the corticosteroids for a long time due to their possible side effects.
People with moderate to severe symptoms that do not get better after using artificial tears get tiny eye inserts to treat the problem. The inserts resemble a grain of rice. You will insert the hydroxypropyl cellulose between your eyeball and lower eyelid. It will slowly dissolve and release the substance that lubricates your dry eyes for relief.
You may also use drugs that stimulate tear production. They can be in different forms, such as pills, eyedrops, or gels.
You can receive treatment through autologous blood serum drops. These eyedrops are created from your blood. Your optometrist can suggest this treatment if your dry eye condition does not respond to any other dry eye treatment.
Your optometrist can reduce tear loss by closing your tear ducts to prevent your tears from draining away. They can also do thermal cautery to plug your tear ducts using heat, which is more permanent. Special contact lenses can also help treat your dry eyes. You may need to have bandage lenses or scleral lenses.
The blockage of your oil glands can affect the quality of your tears. As a result, your eyes will lack enough lubrication and the right balance of tear film to keep your eyes healthy. They can use a thermal pulsation device to unclog the blocked oil glands. If you have severely dry eyes, they can use intense pulsed light therapy and massage your eyelids.
For more about dry eye treatment, visit Eyecare Center Optometrist, PSC, at our offices in Richmond, Lexington, Beattyville, Irvine, or McKee, Kentucky. Call (859) 208-2020, (859) 623-6643, (859) 272-2449, (606) 464-8148, (606) 287-8477, or (606) 726-9321 to book an appointment today.