Dry eyes are one of the most common eye conditions affecting U.S. adults. In fact, most people will experience it at some point during their lifetime, although the symptoms may be fairly mild and as a result, you may not realize that you are suffering from a real and treatable condition. However, if the symptoms don’t resolve themselves you may require medical intervention to help alleviate them.
There are primarily three different underlying causes of dry eyes.
The eyes fail to make enough natural tear film due to issues with the glands responsible for producing it.
There isn’t enough oil in the tear film that is being produced, often due to a problem or blockage with the meibomian glands. This affects the quality of your tear film.
The tear film drains from the eyes too quickly.
There are some groups of people that are also more likely to experience dry eyes and that may require professional help to alleviate their symptoms. You may be at greater risk of you:
are over the age of 50
wear contact lenses
use computers/screens for long periods of time without sufficient breaks
spend time in heated or air-conditioned environments
are in a windy, cold, dusty, or dry environment
have certain medical conditions, including blepharitis, Sjögren’s syndrome, or lupus
take certain medications, including some antidepressants and blood pressure medications
Some of the symptoms of dry eye can be mild and easily overlooked. However, if they persist for more than a few weeks, we recommend that you speak to your eye doctor as you could potentially have dry eyes. Common signs of dry eyes include
Eyes that are sore and may look red and swollen
Eyes that feel gritty
You may feel that you need to widen your eyes to ‘stretch’ them
You may find yourself blinking repeatedly to try and lubricate your eyes or to achieve focus
Eyes are more watery than normal, which is actually your body’s emergency response to a lack of tear film
Sensitivity to light
If you are diagnosed with dry eye, there are a number of different treatments that you may be recommended to try. One of the most effective is the Lipiflow.
Lipiflow is an innovative and unique treatment that uses vectored thermal pulsation technology to gently heat and massage the Meibomian glands responsible for producing the oil needed for the healthy tear film. This helps to remove blockages so that the oil can flow freely into the tear film again, ensuring proper and adequate lubrication of the eyes. The treatment is non-invasive, painless, and extremely safe. It also takes just 12 minutes per eye, making it simple to fit treatment into a busy schedule. You may only need a single session of Lipiflow, but some patients are recommended to have several in order to achieve the best result.
If you’d like more information about dry eyes, or you are concerned that you may have dry eyes and would like your eyes to be assessed by our expert team, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.