What Causes Dry Eyes?
Dry eyes, medically known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, occur when the tear ducts do not provide adequate tears to effectively lubricate the eyes. This chronic condition is usually due to decreased tear production, increased evaporation of tears, or an imbalance in the composition of tears.
Decreased tear production
You can develop dry eyes due to decreased tear production naturally as you age. But you can also have this uncomfortable condition due to:
Regularly looking at a computer screen (computer vision)
Chronic diseases, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Laser eye surgery
Lacrimal gland damage
Dry eyes from decreased tear production can even be a side effect of certain medications, particularly decongestants and allergy medications. This is why it is so important to discuss all medications, including over-the-counter varieties, with your optometrist at My Vision Eye Care.
Increased evaporation of tears
Increased tear evaporation means you probably have enough tears, but they don’t effectively lubricate your eyes. This can happen due to:
Wind, pollution, or dry air
Blink less often
In some cases, increased tear evaporation can be due to both environmental and physical problems, such as living in a dry climate and having eyelids that turn (ectropion).
Imbalance in the composition of tears
Your tears are made of oil, water, and mucus. But if your sebaceous glands (meibomian glands) become clogged, your tears may not have enough oil to properly lubricate your eyes. In many cases, your optometrist can get to the root of a tear imbalance and correct the underlying problem, so you can start producing healthy tears.
Why should I be concerned about dry eyes?
Dry eye problems don’t just leave you with dry, scratchy, and red eyes, these complications can lead to other serious problems. Untreated dry eyes can:
Increase your risk of eye infections.
Lead to damage to the surface of the eye.
Make it difficult to see and do daily tasks.
The earlier you start treatment for dry eyes, the less likely you are to have these serious complications.
Do you treat urgent or emergency problems related to dry eyes?
Yes, we treat severe red, pink, sore, dry eye conditions and have a dry eye protocol that we follow as it is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a condition that needs to be managed over time.
How are dry eyes treated?
Our doctor will evaluate your eyes to determine what is causing their dryness. Depending on the cause, your dry eye treatment may include:
Medications to reduce inflammation of the eyelids.
Eye drops to minimize corneal inflammation.
Prescription drugs that stimulate tears
Daily eye inserts to lubricate your eyes.
Many dry eye patients benefit from point plugs. These inserts go directly to the tear ducts and block the flow of tears from the eye to the nose and sinuses. This forces tears, as well as essential eye drops, to remain in the eyes for longer periods of time.
Before you live another day with dry eyes, see how My Vision can help you. Book your appointment through the online scheduler or call the office