Dry eyes are a common problem that affects millions of people nationally, including many patients in Naples, Florida. Anyone can be affected by occasional dry eye, but frequent, ongoing dry eye symptoms can be indicative of a chronic issue that may benefit from professional treatment. The dry eye specialists at Fisher Eye & Laser Center can diagnose dry eye and offer solutions to relieve the discomfort of dry eye.
Dry Eye Symptoms
In addition to the general feeling of dryness, dry eyes can cause a variety of symptoms which can make day-to-day activities more difficult and less enjoyable. Symptoms of dry eye include:
- Redness or irritation
- Stinging or burning
- Excessive mucus
- Sensitivity to light
- Decreased comfort with contact lenses
- A grainy feeling, like there is something in your eye
- Watery eyes, which can be the eye overcompensating for dryness
What Causes Dry Eyes?
Dry eyes are caused by inadequate tear production. Healthy eyes are well hydrated by a natural lubrication system that involves three tear layers called the lipid, aqueous and mucin layers, as well as the oil-producing meibomian glands. Natural lubrication keeps eyes nourished and helps flush out bacteria and detritus. Certain environmental, medical, or lifestyle factors that can contribute to dry eyes include:
- Extended screen time, such as 2+ hours of computer use per day
- Age – patients over 50 may be more susceptible to dry eye
- Prolonged sun overexposure
- Hormonal changes due to menopause or other transitions or conditions
- Some medications, including certain blood pressure, birth control, anti-depressant, and allergy medicines.
- A family history of dry eye syndrome or Meibomian gland dysfunction
Certain pre-existing medical conditions such as lupus, thyroid disorders, ocular allergies, or rheumatoid arthritis
Do I Have Dry Eye Syndrome?
If you suffer from dry eye symptoms on a regular basis, then you may have dry eye syndrome, also called dry eye disease. Dry eye syndrome is characterized by chronic dry eye symptoms and can occur due to a combination of factors. One potential cause of dry eye syndrome is Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). The Meibomian glands play an important role in the eye’s natural lubrication system by producing oil which prevents tears from evaporating too quickly. Patients with MGD experience Meibomian glands that are blocked or under-producing, which can cause uncomfortable dry eye symptoms. The eye doctors at Fisher Eye & Laser Center offer a number of treatments for dry eye syndrome, including LipiFlow®, a procedure which can be very effective in alleviating MGD.
At-Home Solutions for Dry Eyes
Occasional or mild dry eye symptoms may be alleviated by simple home remedies, including:
- Over the counter eye drops Pharmacies offer a variety of lubricating drops which can be used as directed.
- Warm compresses A warm compress or a specialized eye mask can relieve irritation.
Blinking exercises Performing blinking exercises throughout the day can benefit computer users.
- Control your environment Avoid dust or fans on your face, and consider using a humidifier.
Dry Eye Treatment Options
When home remedies are not sufficient to relieve dry eye symptoms, an experienced eye doctor can help. The specialists at Fisher Eye & Laser Center offer several treatment options for dry eye:
- Prescription Eye Drops A variety of prescription eye drops are available to reduce inflammation, lubricate eyes, and alleviate the symptoms of dry eye. Your eye doctor can evaluate your symptoms to recommend a prescription for you.
- LipiFlow® LipiFlow® is an innovative treatment to treat dry eye by removing blockages in the Meibomian glands in order to restore natural lubrication to the eye. This minimally invasive in-office procedure requires no downtime and can be highly effective in treating dry eye syndrome. Learn more about LipiFlow®