DRY EYES

Dry Eye Disease

Do your eyes water? Burn? Itch? Feel gritty? Does your vision change from day to day or even moment to moment? Do you feel the need to put in artificial tears? These can all be symptoms of dry eye disease. Yet surprisingly many people have dry eye disease without any of these symptoms.  

The most common symptom of dry eye disease is NOTHING. 

What is Dry Eye Disease?

Dry eye disease, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a condition that results in the inflammation of the eye and the tear-producing glands.  This inflammation decreases the eye’s ability to produce normal tears that protect the eye from irritation and keep it moisturized and lubricated. 

The tear film is composed of three intermingling layers: 
Oily Layer - Outermost layer prevents evaporation
Watery Layer - Middle layer moisturizes the eye
Mucous Layer - Inner layer allows adherence between the eye and the watery layer
Since the tear film is exposed directly to the air, the protective lipid layer is essential for maintaining a healthy film on they eye. When the protective lipid layer of the tear film is lacking, often caused by a blockage or obstruction of the eyelids meibomian glands, the result can cause a variety of problems including fluctuating vision, burning, grittiness, and even excessive tearing. 

   How may we help?


Do I Have Dry Eyes?

Dry eyes disease used to be more common in older people and women; however, as our world has become more technologically driven, dry eyes can affect anyone. Common causes of dry eyes can be over the counter and prescription medications, as well as use of electronic devices. Other causes for dry eyes may be natural – tear production often slows down as people get older.

“I know I don’t have dry eyes, they water all of the time.”

This paradox occurs because keeping our eye moist is a big part of our vision, if the eye starts to become dry our bodies reflex mechanism is to ramp up the production of tears- this results in watering, sometimes the watering is so extreme that it runs out of the eye and down the cheeks like you are crying.

Our team of doctors can suggest a variety of treatments for dry eyes, depending on the underlying cause of your dry eye disease.

Causes of Dry Eye

Some common causes of dry eyes include:
Aging
Hormonal changes like pregnancy or menopause
Smoking
Allergies
Contact lens wear
Vitamin A deficiency
Autoimmune diseases like Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis
Oklahoma weather (dry, windy, dusty)
Occupational factors like prolonged computer use
Medications like decongestants, antihistamines, oral contraceptives, tranquilizers, and diuretics. 
Inflammation of the eye's tear-producing gland
LASIK or another type of refractive eye surgery can worsen or cause dry eyes.  In fact, individuals with extreme dry eyes may be disqualified from undergoing LASIK surgery. 

Treatment for Dry Eyes

We've talked about Chronic Dry Eye Disease and many of the factors that cause dry eyes.  The good news is that today there are more options for treating dry eyes than ever before.  Click here to learn about available dry eye treatments. 
If you are tired of burning, itchy, gritty feeling eyes and have found that over-the-counter eye drops no longer help, maybe it's time to schedule a dry eye exam. The optometrists at Precision Vision Edmond have the most comprehensive treatment options available in Oklahoma.  Give us a call to learn more or schedule your dry eye exam today.  405-341-2062. 
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