Treating Dry Eye with our Ophthalmologists in Raleigh, Wilmington, Fayetteville and Clinton, NC
Do your eyes feel irritated, gritty, or like something is always in them? Do you experience redness, burning, excessive tearing, or occasional blurry vision? If so, you may have Dry Eye disease, a common condition where your eyes do not produce enough tears. Sometimes, the only symptom of dry eye is recurring blurred vision. Unfortunately, Dry eye disease won’t heal without proper treatment and the effects go beyond discomfort. Dry eye disease can result in chronic corneal inflammation, which is swelling of the eye’s transparent surface, an unhealthy condition for your eyes. If you have symptoms of dry, red, gritty-feeling eyes, our ophthalmologists are ready to help! Our expert ophthalmologists at our Fayettville and Clinton area Ophthalmology Centers can diagnose and treat your dry eyes.
Understanding Dry Eyes
Your eyes contain basal tears, which are comprised of water, oil and mucus. If the composition of those layers is incorrect or your eyes produce few basal tears, they will evaporate before they have time to adequately lubricate your eyes, resulting in dry eye symptoms.
Dry Eye Causes and Risk Factors
Dry eye can be caused by a variety of factors. Certain eye disorders can also lead to dry eyes, including disorders of the tear glands, blocked tear glands, inflammation of the eyelids and eyelids that do not close properly. Factors that lead to Dry Eye include:
- Chemical and heat burns of the membrane that covers the eye and inside of the eyelids (conjunctiva)
- Chronic inflammation of the conjunctiva or the lacrimal gland
- Cosmetic eyelid surgery
- Diseases of the skin on or around the eyelids or the glands in the eyelids
- Exposure to irritants, such as chemical fumes, tobacco smoke or drafts from heating or air conditioning
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Immune system disorders such as lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis
- Long-term contact lens wear
- Medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines, birth control pills, certain blood pressure medicines, nasal decongestants, Parkinson’s medications and tranquilizers
- Not blinking enough while looking at electronic screens
- Refractive surgery, such as LASIK
- Thyroid disease
- Vitamin deficiency or excess
Dry Eye Symptoms
Symptoms typically increase in severity if you sit directly in front of a draft or air conditioning vent, work in front of a computer and fail to blink often enough or work in windy or sandy conditions. Symptoms may include:
- Being unable to read, work on the computer or do other eye-intensive activities for long periods
- Blurry vision
- Burning or stinging of the eye
- Discharge from the eye
- Discomfort while wearing contact lenses
- Eye fatigue
- Feeling like there is something in your eye
- Eyelids that feel heavy
- Not being able to cry, even when upset emotionally
- Periods of excess tears followed by very dry eyes
- Redness or pain in the eye
Treating Dry Eyes with our Ophthalmologists, Serving Fayetteville and Clinton, NC
Our ophthalmologists, dedicated to the Fayetteville and Clinton communities, can diagnose the causes of your dry eye symptoms and recommend several different treatment options, depending on the severity of your symptoms and the diagnosed causes. Dry Eye Treatments include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications or drops to to help your eyes produce more quality tears by reducing inflammation, which is oftentimes a cause of dry eye.
- Dietary changes or supplements, such as adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet and drinking more water.
- Managing the underlying condition with medication or other treatments
- Plugging the tear ducts to keep the tears from flowing away, either temporarily or permanently
- Switching medications that may be causing dry eye
- Wearing contact lenses less frequently or switching to another type of lens
Discussing Medications with Your Family Doctor
If our eye doctor suspects that the symptoms of your dry eyes are caused by certain medications that you are taking, we may recommend discussing alternative medications with your family doctor that do not list dry eyes as a possible side-effect.
In some instances, taking a dietary supplement, like Omega-3 fish oils, may help reduce your symptoms. Our ophthalmologist can recommend dietary supplements that are specifically designed to reduce the symptoms of dry eyes.
OTC and Prescription Eye Drops and Creams
OTC and prescription eye drops and creams can help keep your eyes lubricated during the day and while you sleep. Depending on the formulation, the eye drops may help reduce inflammation of the eyelids and/or prevent allergy symptoms that may aggravate your symptoms
Surgery for Temporary and Permanent Tear Duct Plugs
In some instances, having surgery to insert permanent or temporary tear duct plugs may be the solution. These plugs are designed to stop the basal tears from draining into your tear ducts, which helps keep the tears in your eyes longer.
To schedule an appointment with our ophthalmologist, call us at 910-485-3937.