Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that occurs when your eyes don't produce enough tears to keep your eyes lubricated. It can also occur if the tears you produce evaporate quickly because they are of poor quality. Dry eye can be painful and impair your vision. At Wright Eye Care, we have years of experience providing residents of Loves Park, IL, with effective dry eye treatment.
Who Is at Risk for Dry Eye?
Although anyone can develop dry eye, there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing the condition. These include:
- Aging: As you get older, your eyes produce fewer tears.
- Medications: Certain medications list dry eye as a side effect. These include decongestants, antihistamines, birth control pills, acne medication, and high blood pressure drugs.
- Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions can cause dry eye. These include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, thyroid disorders, allergic eye disease, vitamin A deficiency, and sarcoidosis.
- Laser Eye Surgery
- Contact Lens Use
Symptoms of Dry Eye
Dry eye causes several uncomfortable symptoms that can affect your vision, including:
- Stinging and burning of the eyes
- Feeling as if there is something in your eyes
- Redness of the eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Trouble driving at night
- Mucus in or around the eyes
- Blurry vision
Diagnosing Dry Eye
Our optometrist can diagnose dry eye during an annual eye exam. If we examine your eyes and suspect that you have dry eye, we will perform the Schirmer test. During this test, our eye doctor will put a blotting strip under your lower eyelids. You will sit with the blotting strips on your eyes for five minutes to determine the number of tears that you have produced.
Our optometrist may also test the quality of your tears, using special eye drops that contain dye. This allows us to check the staining patterns on your cornea and time how long it takes for your tears to evaporate.
Dry Eye Treatment
The treatment that your optometrist will choose depends on the severity of your condition. The treatment options include:
- Artificial Tears: Artificial tears are prescribed for patients with mild dry eye. They lubricate your eyes the same way your natural tears do.
- Eye Inserts: Eye inserts are very small and fit between your eye and your lower lid. Over the day, the inserts will dissolve, releasing a substance similar to artificial tears.
- Tear-Stimulating Drugs: If you have mild to moderate dry eye, there are oral medications available that help you produce more natural tears.
- Punctal Plugs: Punctal plugs are prescribed for people with moderate to severe dry eye. The plugs are designed to close off your tear ducts, which will prevent your tears from draining too quickly.
- Thermal Cautery: This procedure does the same thing as punctal plugs, but it is a permanent solution.
Dry Eye Treatment in Loves Park, IL
If you need dry eye treatment in Loves Park, IL, the optometry professionals at Wright Eye Care are ready to assist you. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at (815) 708-7083.