Often patients are asymptomatic and have no idea that dryness is an issue until the optometrist brings it to their attention. Once treatment is initiated, patients realize the difference in their eyes and notice that what they thought was normal actually wasn’t so.
Some symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome include: Itching, Burning, Tearing, Redness, Irritation, Fluctuating Vision
Dry Eye Syndrome has many causes. All of these causes result in either a decrease in tear production or an increase in tear evaporation.
The following are medical reasons of dryness that affect the eye in different ways: Aging, Medications, Menopause, Increase Tear Evaporation, Sjogren’s Syndrome
Environmental reasons include: Decreased Blinking (ex. computers/reading), Windy Conditions, Heat and Air Conditioning, Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, Contact Lens Wear
No matter what the cause, treatment is required for dryness of the eye before it becomes severe.
When a patient comes in for a comprehensive eye exam, we determine if dryness of the eye is present. If it is, basic treatment is initiated and a dry eye assessment is scheduled on a later date. During a dry eye assessment, the optometrist will determine the severity of the dryness, assess if the treatment improved the problem, and evaluate the patient’s specific symptoms and concerns.
Special diagnostic dyes, which highlight problems that would otherwise be invisible, are particularly helpful to diagnose the presence of dryness and to understand the severity so that progress can be monitored.
When it comes to treating dry eyes, each individual’s needs are unique. Treatment is initiated with the least invasive, yet most effective, method. We then determine if other therapies need to be added.
Treatment may consist of one or more of the following: Artificial Tears, Dietary Supplements, Humidifier, Prescription Eye Drops or Ointments, Warm Eyelid Compresses, Eyelid Scrubs, Punctual Plugs, Surgical Punctual Occlusion