What You Need to Know About Dry Eye

Image of the desert.

If you have never suffered from dry eye, you might not appreciate how important your tears are to your eye health. Without enough moisture, your eyes can become dry, itchy, red and uncomfortable. Dry eye occurs when you do not make enough tears or the tears you produce are not high quality.

The Importance of Tears

Although you might not realize it, your eyes constantly produce tears. Tears are needed to keep the front of your eyes moist and comfortable. They help remove tiny specks of debris or dust from the eyes. When something falls into your eye, tear production increases, in an attempt to wash away the foreign object.

Symptoms of Dry Eye

Dry eye symptoms include:

  • A feeling that there is a foreign object in your eyes
  • Gritty or sandy feeling in the eyes
  • Burning and stinging
  • Itching
  • Eye fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Pain and redness
  • Difficulty reading or working on a computer for long periods of time
  • Stringy discharge
  • Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
  • Inability to cry

Who Gets Dry Eye?

Dry eye can occur at any age; although it is most common in people over the age of 65. Hormonal changes in women during pregnancy and menopause can increase the risk of dry eye, as can the use of hormonal birth control methods, such as birth control pills.

No matter what your age, you may experience dry eye if you are exposed to wind, dry conditions or smoke, or have allergies. Some types of medications can affect tear production, including antidepressants, tranquilizers, hormone replacement medications, antihistamines, blood pressure medication and decongestants. If you have thyroid disease, diabetes, chronic conjunctivitis, lupus, Sjogren's syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis, you may be more likely to develop the condition.

Dry eye can also be a problem if you have worn contact lenses for many years or have had LASIK surgery to improve your vision. In some cases, LASIK can decrease tear production. Failure to blink regularly, which can occur when you stare at a computer monitor for a long time, can also trigger the problem.

Treatment Options

Optometrists can offer several strategies and treatment options that will help your eyes feel more comfortable, including:

  • The use of artificial tears for added moisture
  • Changing a medication if dry eye is a side effect
  • Treating underlying diseases and conditions that cause dry eye
  • Plugging the drainage holes in your eyes to prevent tears from draining too quickly
  • Changing the type of contact lenses you wear
  • Recommending that you use an air purifier to remove allergens from the air
  • Prescribing cyclosporine, an anti-inflammatory medicine that increases tear production

If you have a severe case of dry eye, your eye doctor may suggest punctal cautery, a minor surgical procedure that permanently plugs the drainage holes in your eyes.

Keep your eyes healthy with regular eye examinations. Is it about time for your next exam? If so, call us today to set up an appointment!

Location

Find us on the map

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

Closed

Tuesday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Saturday:

9:00 am-1:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I thoroughly enjoyed my visit! I see an optometrist every year and I received care at her office that I've never received anywhere! I had my eyes dilated for the 1st time to make sure everything was ok. It was offered to me & covered by my insurance. I realize the importance of my vision and was very pleased with the care I received!"
    Andrea Walker
  • "First of all, the atmosphere was welcoming....(very important to me). The receptionist worked with us and was very patient due to the fact we haven't seen an optometrist in a while....and Dr. Norwood took extra time out to explain things that was unclear to me (for myself and my child). I expect the type of care she provided.
    My last experience (elsewhere) was rough, which is why it took me so long to see another eye Dr.
    Dr. Norwood is a great example for all optometrists and her staff as well. Thanks again..."
    Erika T Collins
  • "I love this Doctor. I thank God that i brought my baby to her. Because she saw some things that were going on behind her eye's. She told me to take her to the er asap. I did my baby almost die on me. But i thank God for sending me to her. I feel like she was my baby Angel. Thank u so much. Doctor Norwood."
    Love Hurt Pain