Dry Eyes

How are Dry Eyes Diagnosed?

As optometrists we are able to diagnose dry eyes by examining the eyes through a microscope. There are several tests that measure the tear production. Various filters and dyes are used to assist us in assessing the tear film.

How are Dry Eyes Treated?

Replacement with artificial tears and/or ointments is the basis of treatment. Artificial tears are available without a prescription and are used to lubricate the eye and replace the missing moisture. These drops are to provide short term relief for patients with a mild dry eye problem. Ask us which artificial tear is best for your eye. In conjunction with drops, often lid massage may be of benefit to remove debris around the eye lid region.

Conserving tears that are naturally produced is another approach to keeping the eye moist. Tears leave the eye through the tear ducts in both upper and lower eyelids and go down into the nose. We may need to block the drainage route of the tears using punctal plugs. Punctal plugs keep the moisture on the eyes longer and are used with patients who have moderate to severe dry eyes. Punctal plugs have had a high rate of success in our office.

Common Symptoms of Dry Eyes

  • Stinging
  • Burning
  • Scratchiness
  • Redness
  • Blurry vision
  • Stringy mucus
  • Excessive tearing
  • Feeling of something foreign in your eyes

Risk Factors for Dry Eye

  • Menopausal women
  • Age
  • Contact lens wearer
  • Autoimmune disease (arthritis, Sjogren’s)
  • Smoking
  • Medication side effect (antihistamines)

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