Are you suffering from dry eye syndrome?
Here is what you need to know about this troublesome eye condition.
Dry eye occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly, or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly. Dry eye syndrome is a chronic and typically progressive condition. Depending on its cause and severity, it may not be completely curable. But in most cases, dry eye can be managed successfully, usually resulting in noticeably greater eye comfort, fewer dry eye symptoms, and sometimes, improved vision.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
There are a wide range of symptoms that may accompany dry eye. You may feel stinging or burning, or a sandy or gritty feeling as if something is in the eye. You may experience episodes of excess tears following very dry eye periods. Other symptoms may include eye discharge, pain or redness, episodes of blurred vision, or heavy eyelids. Contact wearers may experience discomfort. In addition, dry eye sufferers may experience eye fatigue or decreased tolerance of reading, working on the computer, or any activity that requires sustained visual attention.
Who is at Risk for Dry Eye?
Elderly people frequently experience dryness of the eyes, but dry eye can occur at any age. Nearly five million Americans 50 years of age and older are estimated to have dry eye. Of these, more than three million are women and more than one and a half million are men. Tens of millions more have less severe symptoms. Dry eye is more common after menopause. Women who experience menopause prematurely are more likely to have eye surface damage from dry eye.
The use of artificial teardrops is the primary treatment for dry eye. Artificial teardrops are available over the counter. No one type works for everyone, so people may need to experiment to find the drop that work best. It is important to use the drops, even when eyes feel fine, to keep them lubricated.
Oral Omega-3 nutritional supplements, such as fish oil or flaxseed oil, have also been shown to improve dry eye syndrome. Other treatments for recalcitrant dry eye include temporary punctual occlusion and prescription eye drops (Restasis and now the newly approved Xiidra).
Don’t Suffer any Longer
If you think you may suffer from dry eye syndrome, it is important to seek medical advice. The professionals at the Starling Eye Center can perform testing to confirm the dry eye diagnosis and recommend the best treatment approach. Call (800) 889-6008 to schedule a visit in any of our convenient locations.