If your eyes have been irritating you lately, you may be wondering whether you have a common problem known as dry eye. Take a look at these frequently asked questions about the dry eye from our optometry team at Christenson Vision Care in Hudson, WI.
Dry eye is not one specific condition. Instead, it is a syndrome, or set of associated conditions, having to do with lack of eye moisture or lubrication. It is typically related to insufficiency or imbalance in the tear film that normally covers the eye.
The tear film is a three-layered film that is replenished every time you blink. The mucous layer protects against disease, while the water layer hydrates the eye. The oil layer prevents the water layer from evaporating.
Age can reduce the amount of water your tear glands produce, which is the most common cause of dry eye. Medications, autoimmune disorders, and anything out that promote dryness can also cause it. Blockages in the eyelid's meibomian glands can reduce oil production, causing the water to evaporate. Windy conditions or infrequent blinking, often related to computer usage, can accelerate the drying effect.
The most common symptoms of dry eye include red, itchy, irritated, and unusually sensitive to light. Your vision may seem blurred, or you may feel as if you have something in your eye.
If dry eye goes untreated for too long, the eyes become exposed to infections, debris, and injuries. The corneas may sustain scars that can impair your vision.
Either eye doctor at our optometry clinic can confirm dry eye or eliminate other possible eye conditions during a comprehensive exam. Analysis of your tear composition can reveal any imbalances.
Artificial tears or prescription eye drops can soothe and protect dry eyes. We may also recommend wraparound sunglasses for outdoor use, changes in your work habits, adjustments to your medication, dietary changes, punctal plugs to discourage tear drainage or treatment for an underlying condition. You might require treatment to un-block your meibomian glands.
If you have dry eye, you don't just need answers to your questions, you also need the treatment that leads to relief. Call Christenson Vision Care at (715) 381-1234 to speak to either Hudson, WI, optometrist at our clinic.