Dry eye syndrome is quite a common condition. It affects people who are unable to produce enough tears to nourish and lubricate their eyes. There are many reasons why a person’s tears may be unstable or inadequate. Dry eye may occur, for example, if the quality of your tears is poor. This can lead to damage to the surface of your eyes and inflammation. This condition is common particularly in the elderly.
If you suffer from this condition, your eyes may burn, sting, and/or feel uncomfortable. Your eyes will also be prone to infections. Good-quality tears are necessary when it comes to maintaining the health of your eye’s front surface. They are also necessary for providing a clear vision.
Each time you blink your eyelids, your tears will spread across your cornea, which is the eye’s front surface. Your tears will wash away any foreign material in your eye and minimize the risk of eye infection. They will also provide lubrication and keep the surface of your eyes clear and smooth.
Any excess tears will flow into tiny drainage ducts located in the inner corners of your eyelids. They will then drain back into the back of your nose. When the production and drainage of tears are not in balance, you will likely experience dry eyes.
Dry eyes can develop due to certain environmental conditions. For example, exposure to dry climates, wind, and smoke can cause your tears to evaporate faster. This will result in dry eye symptoms. Also, failure to blink regularly can lead to the drying of your eyes.
Age is another contributing factor. This eye condition is often a part of the natural aging process. Most people over 65 often experience some dry eye symptoms.
Dry eyes can also develop as a result of certain medical conditions. If you suffer from thyroid problems, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis, you will be more likely to experience some symptoms of dry eye. You will also experience symptoms if you suffer from blepharitis, which is inflammation of the eyelids.
According to studies, women can develop this condition due to hormonal changes resulting from pregnancy, menopause, or the use of oral contraceptives. You may also develop a dry eye if you have been using contact lenses for a long time. LASIK and other refractive eye surgeries can also lead to a reduction in tear production, which can subsequently contribute to dry eyes.
Redness of the eyes
Stringy looking mucus near the eye
Your eye doctor will diagnose this condition through a comprehensive eye exam. He or she will focus on evaluating the quality and quantity of the tears you produce. The treatment process will aim to maintain or restore the normal quality and quantity of tears in your eyes. This will help minimize dryness, discomfort, and other symptoms of dry eyes.
The main approaches used to treat or manage this condition include conserving tears by blocking the ducts through which your tears normally drain. This will keep your natural tears in your eyes for longer. In mild cases of dry eye, your eye doctor might recommend an over-the-counter artificial tear solution to add tears to your eyes. Your eye doctor can also prescribe eye drops designed to increase the production of tears. Finally, the doctor of optometry may choose to treat the contributing ocular surface or eyelid inflammation.
To know more about dry eye disease and treatment, visit Plano Eye Associates at our offices in Plano, Texas. You can also call (972) 985-1412 to book an appointment.