Dry Eye FAQs
Dry eye disease is a fairly common condition that will affect most people at some point during their lifetime. For the majority of patients, the condition will resolve itself fairly quickly. However, if you experience chronic symptoms that do not go away within a few weeks, it is advisable to ask your eye doctor for an appointment.
Here at Maple Eye and Laser, we see countless patients with dry eye disease each year. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we hear about dry eye disease and their answers.
Why is it Important For our Eyes to Be Wet?
Many people think that tears and tear film are pure water. However, the tear film in our eyes contains a complex mixture of oils, mucus, and water to keep our eyes healthy and able to move. They also protect them against certain germs and toxins. If our eyes aren’t effectively hydrated by the tear film, not only do they become uncomfortable, but they could be difficult to move and at greater risk of disease.
What Causes Dry Eye?
Dry eye occurs when there is a problem with the natural production of lubricant that keeps our eyes healthy and mobile. This lubrication is made by something called the lacrimal gland and, in many cases, it is an issue with this gland that causes the dry eye to develop.
Dry eye is more common amongst older people, and this is believed to be due to a reduction in the efficiency of the lacrimal gland which occurs as we age. Other known causes of dry eye include:
- Taking certain medications
- Damage or injury to the eye or eyelid
- Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or collagen vascular diseases
- Sjögren’s syndrome
- Menopause or other hormone imbalances
Blinking less often can also cause the eyes to dry out, but this can normally be corrected by ensuring that you blink more regularly to stimulate tear production.
What Are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?
Aside from the typical feeling of dryness that accompanies dry eye disease other symptoms that you can expect to experience can include:
- A scratchy sensation
- Gunk in your eyes that temporarily obscures your vision
- The sensation of something being lodged in your eye
- Difficulty blinking and moving your eyes
What Treatment is Available for Dry Eye Disease?
Fortunately, there are a number of different treatments that can be used to combat the effects of dry eye disease. These can include the following:
Medication amendment. Changing your medication if your dry eye disease is believed to be a side effect of the drugs you take can help eliminate your symptoms. This will need to be discussed with your doctor.
Prescription eyedrops. The use of prescription eye drops to lubricate your eyes can give you significant relief. There are various types of eye drop available and your eye doctor will recommend the best type and dose for your needs.
Vitamins. In mild cases of dry eye disease, vitamins have been found to be effective at improving the symptoms you experience.
Lipiflow. If your dry eye symptoms are severe and other treatments are not helping, you may be recommended to try Lipiflow. This electronic treatment stimulates the lacrimal gland to produce more tear film and helps to remove blockages that could be preventing enough fluid from getting onto the eyes.
Punctual plugs. If the tear film is draining from your eyes too quickly, your eye doctor may recommend punctual plugs. These are small stoppers placed into the corners of your eyes where tear film drains to help it remain in the eye for longer.
Eye protection. Wearing eye protection such as sunglasses or goggles can help to reduce instances of dry eye disease and their associated symptoms.
Want to Know More?
If you are suffering from dry eye disease and would like professional support to help manage your condition, please don’t hesitate to contact Maple Eyes and Laser Center to arrange an appointment with our friendly and experienced eye care professionals (914) 948-5157.
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Please contact us if you have a question, or would like to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you soon.