Dry eye syndrome is a relatively common condition. Fortunately, it can be easily diagnosed, and it is treatable. Our staff at Lock Family Eye Care in West Des Moines, IA, can diagnose and treat dry eye. Our staff wants you to have the answers to some frequently asked questions that we hear at our office.
Q: What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
A: Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes don't produce an adequate amount of tears, causing your eyes to dry out. This condition also occurs if the tears that you produce are of poor quality.
Q: What Causes Dry Eye?
A: There are a few factors that would put you at great risk of developing dry eye. These include:
- Age: The older you get, the fewer tears you can produce.
- Medical conditions: Dry eye is a side effect of certain medical conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders, lupus, Sjogren's syndrome, and a vitamin A deficiency.
- Medication: Dry eye is a side effect of certain medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, high blood pressure medications, acne medications, drugs for Parkinson's disease, and birth control.
- Laser eye surgery: Dry eye is a temporary side effect of laser eye surgery, such as Lasik.
- Tear gland damage: Chronic inflammation of the tear glands and radiation can cause this type of damage.
Q: What Are the Symptoms Of Dry Eye?
A: The symptoms of dry eye can make you uncomfortable, and usually affect both eyes. The symptoms include:
- Burning or stinging of the eyes
- Feeling like you have something in your eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Stringy mucus around the eyes
- Redness of the eye
- Watery eyes
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty driving at night
Q: How Is Dry Eye Diagnosed?
A: Dry eye can be diagnosed during your annual eye exam. It is essential that you let your optometrist know of any medical conditions you have, and any medications so that they can find the cause. They may also perform a Schirmer test. During this test, your eye doctor would put blotting strips under your lower eyelid. After five minutes, your doctor would remove the strips to measure the number of tears that you produced.
Q: How Is Dry Eye Treated?
A: There are a few treatments for dry eye. The one that your optometrist would choose would depend on the severity of your condition.
- Artificial tears: Artificial tears are the most common treatment. They give your eyes the moisture that you need.
- Tear-stimulating drugs: Your doctor may prescribe drops that will help your eyes produce more natural tears.
- Eye inserts: Each day, you would put a tiny insert in your eye. While it slowly dissolves, it will lubricate your eyes.
Schedule an Appointment Today!
If you are experiencing the symptoms of dry eye, you should make an appointment with Lock Family Eye Care in West Des Moines. Our doctors of optometry will perform an exam and treat your condition accordingly. You can call us at (515) 267-1312 to schedule an appointment today!