If your eyes are continuously dry, red, and itchy, you may have a medical condition known as dry eye. At In Focus Vision Center & Eyecare in Piscataway, New Jersey, expert optometrist Ray Corbin-Simon, OD leads a team of eye health specialists who diagnose and treat patients of all ages who are suffering from uncomfortable dry eye symptoms. Call or schedule an appointment online today.
Dry eye is a condition where your body doesn’t produce a sufficient volume of tears, or your tears aren’t moisturizing enough to keep your eyes wet and healthy.
Dry eye causes symptoms like red, itchy eyes. You might also experience:
A gritty feeling, or like you have debris in your eye
Strings of mucus around your eye
While it might sound strange that having an excess of tears is a sign of dry eye, this is your body’s way to compensate for poor tear quality.
Your tears have three layers. The oily layer makes your tears smooth and prevents them from drying too quickly. The watery layer cleans your eye. The mucus layer helps your tears stick to your eyes. Without sufficient quantities of any of these layers, your tears don’t work correctly, and you develop dry eye symptoms.
Many factors contribute to dry eye. For example, your risk of developing dry eye increases as you get older because of hormonal changes in your body. Additionally, certain medications such as antihistamines, blood pressure medicines, and antidepressants can also contribute to dry eye.
You can also develop dry eye as a secondary symptom of diseases including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid problems. Other factors such as living in a dry or windy environment or long-term contact lens use can also lead to dry eye.
Your In Focus Vision Center & Eyecare doctor checks the outside of your eye, including your eyelids and your blink dynamics. She also examines your cornea with bright lights and magnification to check for signs of dryness or damage. Further, she measures the quantity and quality of your tears, looking for an imbalance between the different tear layers and other abnormalities.
Your doctor provides customized treatment to relieve your dry eye symptoms. In many cases, you may find relief from over-the-counter artificial tear drops. Your doctor may also suggest nutritional changes to add more omega-3 fatty acids and water to your diet. If you work at a computer, you should take frequent breaks to rest your eyes and blink.
If these noninvasive treatments aren’t effective, your doctor may prescribe medications such as Xiidra®, Restasis®, or steroid eyedrops. She may also suggest punctal plugs to reserve your tears.
If you’re troubled by dry, itchy eyes, call or schedule an appointment online today for diagnosis and treatment.