Itchy, red, or sensitive eyes can be uncomfortable and make everyday life more difficult.
Fortunately, there are a variety of conservative treatment options for dry eyes and the symptoms they cause.
Contemporary Ophthalmology of Erie in Erie, PA, can diagnose and treat your dry eyes to improve your quality of life.
What Is Dry Eye?
Aqueous Tear-Deficient Dry Eye
If your eyes do not produce a sufficient amount of tears, you may have what is known as aqueous tear-deficient dry eye. Your tears lubricate and protect your eyes, so if your lacrimal glands aren't producing enough tears, you may experience pain every time your eyelid moves across the surface of your eye.
Evaporative Dry Eye
While healthy tears contain a balanced amount of oil, water, and mucus, poor-quality tears do not contain the correct proportions of these substances, causing them to evaporate too quickly from the surface of the eye.
Mixed Dry Eye
If you have both aqueous tear-deficient dry eye and evaporative dry eye, you may be diagnosed with mixed dry eye.
Dry Eye Symptoms
The most common dry eye symptoms include:
- Stinging or burning
- Sensitivity to brightness
- The feeling of a foreign body in your eye
- Blurry vision
Dry eye treatment can relieve your symptoms, allow you to wear contact lenses more comfortably, and improve your quality of life.
What to Expect During Your Consultation
Slit Lamp Exam
Your doctor will briefly shine a light into your eyes to see the interior structures and try to detect potential damage or eye disease of the cornea, optic nerve, or retina.
After applying numbing eye drops, your doctor will apply strips of filter paper to the lower eyelids. These will measure the tears your eyes produce over the course of a few minutes.
Dry Eye Risk Factors
Several factors can increase your risk of developing dry eye, including:
- Older age
- Certain medications, like antihistamines and antidepressants
- Certain medical conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis
- Skin conditions, such as rosacea
- Eyelid problems
- Environmental factors, including windy, smoky, or dusty conditions
- Extended use of your contact lenses
Dry eye can also be caused by certain habits and tasks, such as driving for extended periods or prolonged use of electronic devices. Because you blink less when performing these activities, the eye sometimes cannot correctly distribute your tears.