If your eyes fail to produce enough tears, or the quality of your tears offer insufficient lubrication, then you may be suffering from dry eye syndrome.
In order to determine whether you have dry eye syndrome, your eye care professional will need to perform a comprehensive eye exam. This exam may consist of:
Your eye care professional will need to establish whether you have any family history of dry eye. Moreover, he or she will need to note any medical conditions, allergies, or medications that may be causing your eyes to dry out. You will also be asked whether you work or live in an environment that may be causing or exacerbating your dry eye condition.
A number of eye conditions could lead to dry eye. Your eye care professional will want to examine your retina, eyelids, and even tear ducts. He or she may also want to observe how often you blink per minute, to determine if you are blinking enough to adequately distribute your tears.
Your eye care professional will want to run a dye test to record the quantity and quality of the tears that you produce. This test can also check for any eye damage that may result from dry eye syndrome.
Dry Eye Treatments
If you wake up with dry, itchy eyes, apply a small amount of eye ointment to the corners of your eyes before bed. The ointment will prevent your eyes from drying out overnight, and can also help prevent you from developing any inflammation due to dry eye.
Lacrisert is a lubricating insert prescribed to dry eye sufferers. Simply place the insert in the pocket of the lower eyelid in the morning, and the insert will dissolve and gradually release tears throughout the day.
While over-the-counter artificial tears may be insufficient to help those suffering from chronic dry eye, they may provide relief for those experiencing mild or occasional dry eye. Be sure to choose a brand that is preservative-free: these brands have fewer additives and are less likely to cause eye irritations.
Eye care professionals have found that increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids can significantly improve your eye lubrication. Fish like salmon and mackerel are excellent sources of omega-3s, and you can also take supplements.
This prescription drug helps to lubricate your eyes, and can prevent damage caused by chronic dry eye. Just apply one drop in each eye twice a day, and you will notice improved tear production.
Tear Duct Plugs
Silicone or collagen plugs may be placed in your tear ducts to prevent them from draining, and to help with maintaining lubrication.
If your dry eyes are caused by a specific medication, speak to your physician about switching to a different prescription.
In severe cases, a doctor may perform surgery to permanently close your tear ducts, preventing them from draining in order to maintain moisture in your eyes. This process is a simple outpatient procedure.
If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic dry eye, schedule a consultation with Dr. Ghosheh today for a detailed eye examination.