Dry Eye Treatment
Tears are a necessity when it comes to keeping our eyes comfortable and healthy. When the body doesn't produce enough tears or produces tears that are of poor quality, it's known as dry eye syndrome. Our doctors of optometry at Carlson-Tillisch Eye Clinic in Mankato can determine if your scratchy eyes or vision problems are being caused by dry eye.
The body is constantly making tears and spreading them across the eye with every blink. Tears ensure that your eyes are smooth and clear. Excess tears drain out through tiny ducts. When the number of tears produced and tears drained gets off balance, your eyes can become dry from lack of tears.
Tears are made up of three different layers including water, oil, and mucus. If the proportions of those three ingredients become unbalanced, the tears may not be able to keep your eyes properly lubricated.
What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?
The symptoms of dry eye can include:
- Stinging and burning
- A scratchy or gritty feeling
- Close-up vision may be blurry
- The eyes are red or irritated
- Contact lenses are uncomfortable
- Excessive tears in the eyes (trying to compensate for the dry eyes by making more tears)
Who Gets Dry Eye?
Dry eye is often part of the aging process. The majority of people over the age of 65 have some dry eye symptoms. Women are more likely than men to experience dry eye syndrome because of fluctuating hormones. Some medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes or thyroid trouble can put a person at risk for developing dry eye. Some medications like antihistamines or beta-blockers can cause dry eye. Smoky, windy or dry climates can cause tears to evaporate quickly and leave dry eyes behind. Staring at a computer screen for a long time can lead to dry eye. Long-term contact lens wearers are at risk for dry eye as are patients who have had surgery to correct vision problems.
How is Dry Eye Diagnosed and Treated?
A doctor of optometry can diagnose dry eye by performing a comprehensive exam that looks at the patient's overall health as well as eye health. Dry eye treatment can including adding tears through over-the-counter eye drops or prescribing eye drops that increase the production of tears. Sometimes dry eye treatment involves partially blocking tears ducts to conserve tears (punctal plugs) or speciality contact lenses called sclerals. Dry eye treatment may also include drops or ointments that treat the eyelids.
Schedule an Eye Exam
If you are experiencing any symptoms of dry eye or you just need a comprehensive eye examination, call our office today!