If you've been hearing about an uncomfortable syndrome called dry eye, you may be wondering what it does to the eyes and whether you might be suffering from the problem yourself. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions on the subject from Urban Optics, your trusted College Station optometry center.
Dry eye is the name for a collection of symptoms that occur when the eye fails to receive adequate hydration, lubrication, or protection against disease. It's commonly associated with the insufficient or unbalanced tear film.
The tear film is a three-layered film of fluid that covers your eyes every time you blink. The fluid includes layers of mucous, water, and an outermost layer of oil produced by the eyelids' meibomian glands.
Dry eye is most commonly caused by age-related dehydration. Drugs and systemic diseases can also have a drying effect, while contact lenses can make the dryness worse. Cataract surgery sometimes creates dry eye as a post-operative side effect. Excessive fan or wind exposure may promote dry eye. Clogged meibomian glands may limit oil production, which makes tears prone to evaporation. Even sending too much in from of a computer can cause you to blink too infrequently, drying out your eyes.
Dry eye typically causes a sandpapery, itchy discomfort in the eyes. Your eyes may also appear red, feel fatigued, or be overly sensitive to glare. Blurred vision often accompanies dry eye.
If you let a severe case of dry eye go untreated, you're leaving your eyes vulnerable to a host of problems, including infection and injury from foreign objects that aren't washed away. This could eventually lead to scarring of the corneas and vision problems.
Our optometry center studies your tear volume and tear film consistency to confirm a case of dry eye. We will also evaluate your lifestyle, medications, and any health factors that might figure into your problem.
Dry eye due to insufficient oil may respond to treatments that remove meibomian gland blockages. Other forms of dry eye can be treated with artificial tears, prescription eye drops, lifestyle or nutritional changes, specialized contact lenses, wind-blocking eyewear, or changes to your health regimen.
Looking for more details about dry eye? Call our College Station eye clinic at (979) 401-0800 for a consultation. We can evaluate your eyes and administer any necessary treatment!