Dry eye is a chronic condition in which the body does not produce enough quality tears to sufficiently lubricate the eye. Without tear lubrication, the eyes may become irritated, causing burning, itchiness and excessive watering. Patients with severe cases of dry eyes may actually experience vision impairments caused by damage to the surface of the eye. Fortunately, dry eye treatments are available to help the eye produce more of its own natural tears and also manage inflammation.
Did you know…
that dry eye is a very common condition among residents over age 50? The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that nearly 4.9 million Americans over age 50 are suffering with dry eye, with women outnumbering men nearly 2 to 1. There are many reasons why people develop dry eye, including environmental conditions, the use of certain medications, and the long-term use of contact lenses.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I be treated for dry eye?
The only way of knowing whether you need treatment for dry eye is by visiting our office for a diagnostic exam. If you are found to have abnormal tear production that is contributing to dryness on the surface of your eyes, you will benefit from treatment. Visit your Irvine optometrist, Dr. Paver, who is highly skilled in the various treatments of dry eye, and she will recommend the type of treatment that is best for you.
What should I expect during treatment for dry eye?
There are several ways of treating dry eye. Together with Dr. Paver, you will decide upon the treatment that best fits your needs. This may include supplementing your natural tears with artificial solutions that can be purchased over-the-counter. You may also be prescribed a medication designed to increase natural tear production. Alternatively, for more chronic cases, Dr. Paver may recommend instilling punctal plugs into your tear ducts, which act by conserving your natural tears and preventing them from draining. This is a quick, in-office procedure that has been proven to work very well in most cases, allowing freedom from constant use of eye drops which typically only have a temporary lasting effect on the eyes.
Will I need to follow any special instructions during treatment?
You can continue to treat your dry eye with eye lubricating drops that provide temporary relief. Some patients also experience improvements in natural tear production by consuming an omega-3 supplement. Other steps you can do to minimize symptoms include wearing sunglasses outdoors, using a humidifier in your home, and remembering to blink more often when watching television or using a computer screen for extended periods of time.