Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that occurs when your eyes don't produce enough tears to keep your eyes lubricated. This condition can also occur if the tears you produce dissolve too quickly. Fortunately, this condition can be treated by the professionals at New Century Ophthalmology, serving Oxford and Raleigh, NC.
Who Is at Risk for Dry Eye?
Although people of all ages can get dry eye, there are several factors that increase your chance of developing this condition.
- Age: As you get older, your eyes produce fewer tears. The older you get, the more your risk increases.
- Medication: Some medications list dry eye as a side effect. These include decongestants, antihistamines, acne medication, birth control, hormone replacement therapy, and high blood pressure medication.
- Medical conditions: Dry eye may develop if you have certain medical issues. These include thyroid disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, allergic eye disease, scleroderma, sarcoidosis, Sjogren's syndrome, and vitamin A deficiency.
Other risk factors include having laser eye surgery or using contact lenses for a long period of time.
What Are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?
Dry eye causes several uncomfortable symptoms that can affect your vision, including:
- Feeling like there is something in your eyes
- Stinging and burning of the eyes
- A scratchy sensation in the eyes
- Stringy mucus in the eyes
- Redness of the eyes
- Trouble driving at night
- Blurry vision
- Eye fatigue
How Is Dry Eye Diagnosed?
Dry eye condition can be diagnosed during a routine eye exam. If you have symptoms of dry eye, we will perform a Schirmer test. During this test, our ophthalmologist puts a blotting strip under your lower lids. We will have you sit with the blotting strip there for five minutes. After five minutes, our eye doctor will check the blotting strip to measure its lubrication.
How Is Dry Eye Treated?
There are a few treatment options for dry eye. Our ophthalmologist will choose one depending on the severity of your condition.
- Artificial tears: Artificial tears lubricate your eyes the same way your natural tears do. These drops can be used several times a day to keep your eyes lubricated.
- Eye inserts: Eye inserts are placed between your lower lid and your eyeball. They are made from the same materials as artificial tears. As the day goes on, the inserts will slowly dissolve, keeping your eyes lubricated.
- Tear-stimulating drugs: Our ophthalmologist can prescribe medication that helps your eyes naturally lubricate.
- Punctal plugs: Punctal plugs are designed to close off your tear ducts to prevent the tears you produce from draining too quickly.
- Thermal cautery: This procedure does the same thing as punctal plugs, but it is a permanent treatment option. If you had success with punctal plugs, thermal cautery is an excellent option.
Schedule Your Eye Appointment
If you are experiencing the symptoms of dry eye, schedule an appointment with New Century Ophthalmology. We treat patients in Oxford and Raleigh, NC. We can create a treatment plan to help your condition. Call us today to schedule an appointment for a complete eye exam.