Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem.
As we age, tear production diminishes, leaving most individuals over the age of 65 with at least some symptoms of dry eye. Yet, dry eye is not just a medical condition that affects the elderly. Other causes of the common eye problem include: medications like antihistamines, blood pressure medicine and antidepressants; medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and thyroid problems; inflammation of the eye surface or eyelids as well as abnormal turning of the eyelids; smoke, wind and dry climates; long-term use of contact lenses; and refractive eye surgeries such as LASIK.
Symptoms of dry eye include:
• Stringy mucus
• Excessive irritation from smoke and wind
• Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
• Watering eyes
If you feel you may be suffering from dry eye, you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor right away. Dry eye can be diagnosed through a comprehensive patient history and eye exam as well as with the help of tests that measure tear production and eye surface dryness.
If you are diagnosed with dry eye, you have several treatment options. You can add tears with over-the-counter artificial tear solutions, conserve tears by temporarily or permanently blocking the tear ducts, increase tear production with prescription eye drops, or you can treat the contributing eyelid or ocular surface inflammation.
You can also attempt to reduce the symptoms of dry eye by…
• Blinking regularly when reading or staring at a computer for long periods of time
• Increasing the level of humidity in the air
• Wearing sunglasses
• Staying hydrated
• Using nutritional supplements containing essential fatty acids
Should your dry eye problem persist or continue to cause discomfort, be sure to contact your eye doctor for more information and treatment. If you have any questions about what you have just read, contact Anne Arundel Eye Center by calling 410-224-2010 or click here today!