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Understanding and Treating Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are one of the most common eye conditions affecting people today. It is especially common in women over the age of 40 and in any patients that have an autoimmune disease. The condition of dry eye occurs when the tears are unable to provide adequate moisture to the eyes. Symptoms may consist of redness in the eye, burning sensations, tearing excessively, sensitivity to light and mucus build up around or inside the eye.  Tears are made up of three basic parts: oil, mucus and water. If there is any imbalance or problem with any of these components, it can lead to dry eyes. A comprehensive eye exam by a doctor will help to diagnose and determine the cause of dry eye. The diagnosis process for dry eye may include tests to measure the volume and quality of tear production in a patient.

There are a variety of treatment strategies for dry eye. These may include eye vitamins, lubricating drops, prescription medications, or even punctual plugs that block the tear ducts. For most people, over the counter eye drops are sufficient to alleviate the symptoms and bring relief. If the problem continues and the dry eye condition is more serious, there are other treatments that may involve addressing the underlying cause of the dry eye. Medications can be prescribed to combat inflammation of the cornea and eyelid. Procedures that can help to reverse the effect of dry eye include blocking the tear ducts to avoid moisture loss, unblocking oil glands, and special contact lenses that are designed to protect the eye and keep the tears in to lubricate the eye properly.

For many with milder dry eye symptoms, the non prescription eye drops available are enough to manage the condition. There are a variety of different eye drops available, so it’s always best to consult with your eye doctor to see which one will be the most beneficial to you. The frequency of use depends on the severity of the condition and symptoms. Your doctor may advise you to avoid conditions that will aggravate dry eye symptoms, such as smoke or air blowing into your eyes from a fan or blow dryer. It may also help to take regular eye breaks when doing activities like reading that require prolonged concentration. It is also recommended to wear eyeglass shields or protective glasses that wrap around to protect eyes from wind that may further increase dryness. Dry air is one of the most common reasons for dry eye symptoms, so it is advisable to have a humidifier in the winter months to moisturize the air.

It is vital to diagnose and get treatment for dry eyes to maintain healthy vision.

Understanding and Treating Dry Eyes - Center for Sight

Carmel

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