Dry eyes

What is Dry eyes?

Dry eye is a common condition that has many causes. From allergies to conditions such as conjunctivitis and blepharitis, the common symptoms of itching and blurred vision can range from mildly uncomfortable to changing our lives. When it comes to the condition known as dry eye syndrome, the underlying cause is the lack of natural lubrication – tears.

In some cases, the eyes fail to form enough tears. In others, the tears formed are of poor quality.

There are many reasons that people experience dry eyes. In addition to certain diagnosed conditions, environmental factors, lifestyle choices, age and certain medications can affect the ability of the eye to lubricate effectively. Other conditions that may mimic some of the symptoms of dry eye syndrome include trauma to the corneal epithelium, chalazion, blepharitis, allergies and various forms of conjunctivitis.

How do I know if I need to find an ophthalmologist specialist for dry eye?

Although dry eye can be a transient condition that you can treat on your own with eye drops without a doctor’s prescription from a pharmacy, if symptoms worsen or continue for more than a few days, you are likely to need more specialized help—you need a specialist ophthalmologist for dry eye. The reasons you may need to seek treatment for dry eye include the long-term or exacerbation of some or many of the following symptoms:

  • Tingling, burning, itching in the eyes
  • Your eyes feel rough
  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • Blurred vision
  • Pain
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Tired eyes
  • Difficulty using contact lenses
  • Vision problems when driving at night
  • Mucus in or around the eyes
  • Crusts are formed around or in the corners of the eyes

What happens during dry eye treatment?

Although there is currently no definitive cure for dry eye syndrome, there are many different treatments available. Because the cause is the inability of the eye to form enough or the right tear quality, primary therapies focus on providing the eye with adequate lubrication and removing or avoiding stimuli.A specialist ophthalmologist for dry eye will take a step-by-step approach that includes:

  • Considering mechanical factors: switching to glasses instead of contact lenses or using a different type of contact lenses, staying in wind and dusty conditions, reducing the time spent on the computer screen, etc.
  • Using eye drops known as artificial tears
  • Ointments for use at night

If these fail to control the symptoms, there are other options available:

  • Placing inserts under the eyelids that gradually release artificial tears
  • By using plugs (temporarily or permanently) that clog the teardrop—the drainage through which tears flow, which means that although your eyes don’t produce many tears, they can take advantage of what you create.
  • Laser treatment or surgery for permanent occlusion ofthe tear spot.

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