Dry eye is a common condition of the eye that can cause painful symptoms and can affect your vision. Fortunately, the professionals at Highlands Optometry PLLC can help. Located in Bristol and Wise, VA, our team will create a dry eye treatment plan based on the severity of your condition.
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye is refers to a condition where your eyes don't produce enough natural tears to keep your eyes properly lubricated. It can also occur when the tears you produce are of poor quality and evaporate before they can lubricate your eyes.
Who Is at Risk for Dry Eye?
Anyone can get dry eye. However, there are factors that can increase your risk of developing the disease. These include:
- Age: As you get older, your tear production can diminish. Dry eye is most common in people over 50.
- Sex: Dry eye is more common in women. This is especially true during hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, menopause or when taking birth control.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions can cause dry eye. These include allergic eye disease, thyroid disorders, vitamin A deficiency, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis and scleroderma.
- Medications: Certain medications list dry eye as a side effect. These include birth control, acne medication, antidepressants, decongestants, antihistamines, pills for high blood pressure and hormone replacement therapy.
- Long-term use of contact lenses
What Are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?
Dry eye can cause uncomfortable symptoms that can affect your vision. These include:
- Feeling like there is something in your eye
- A burning or stinging sensation
- Mucus in the eyes
- Redness of the eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Trouble driving at night
- Blurry vision
- Eye fatigue
How Is Dry Eye Diagnosed?
Dry eye can be detected during your annual eye exam. If our optometrist suspects you have dry eye, we will perform the Schirmer test. Our eye doctor will put a blotting strip under your lower lid. After five minutes, we will check the number of tears that have been absorbed.
How Is Dry Eye Treated?
There are a few options for dry eye treatment. Our optometrist will decide what treatment option is best based on the severity of your condition.
- Artificial tears: Artificial tears are prescribed for mild cases of dry eye. They can be used a few times a day to keep your eyes lubricated.
- Eye inserts: Eye inserts are placed between the lower lid and the eyeball. During the day, the inserts slowly dissolve, releasing a substance that can lubricate the eyes.
- Tear-stimulating medication: Our optometrist can prescribe an eye drop, gel, or an oral medication to help you produce more natural tears.
- Punctal plugs: Punctal plugs are designed to close off your tear ducts. They are prescribed for serious cases, and are designed to prevent tears from draining away. Punctal plugs are a temporary treatment option.
- Thermal cautery: If punctal plugs are effective, our eye doctor can recommend a thermal cautery, which act like punctal plugs, and is a permanent treatment.
Schedule an Appointment Today
If you are experiencing the signs of dry eye, we can help. At Highlands Optometry PLLC in Wise and Bristol, VA, our optometrist will create a dry eye treatment plan based on the severity of your condition. To schedule an appointment for an eye care exam, call us today.