Dry eye is a common condition that occurs when your eyes don't make enough tears to keep them moisturized. It can also occur when the tears that you produce evaporate before they can moisturize your eyes. Fortunately, the doctors at Albuquerque Vision Care and Advanced Eyewear in Albuquerque, NM can treat your dry eye symptoms.
While anyone can develop dry eye, there are certain factors that can increase the risk. Decreased tear production can be caused by:
- Medical conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid disorder, vitamin A deficiency, and scleroderma
- Dry eye is a side effect of certain medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, acne medication, birth control, high blood pressure medication, antidepressants, and hormone replacement medications
- Laser eye surgery can temporarily cause dry eye
- Damage to the tear glands
There are also factors that put you at higher risk of tear evaporation. These include:
- Environmental issues such as wind, dry air, and smoke
- Not blinking enough
- Eyelid problems
Dry Eye Symptoms
The symptoms of dry eye include:
- Feeling like there is something in your eye
- Burning and stinging of the eyes
- Mucus discharge
- Redness of the eyes
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Trouble seeing at night
- Watery eyes as a response to the irritation
Diagnosing Dry Eye
Dry eye can be diagnosed using a test called Schirmer’s test. Your eye doctor would put a strip of paper under your lower lid. After 15 minutes, your doctor will check the strip to measure the number of tears that you produced. Special eye drops can be used to determine the quality of your tears.
Treating Dry Eye
There are several treatment options for dry eye. These include the following:
- Artificial Tears: These are used for mild to moderate cases. Artificial tears give your eyes the lubrication that they need.
- Restasis: This medication is designed to help your eye produce more natural tears.
- Eye Inserts: Eye inserts are slow release natural tears. The insert is placed under your lower lid, and releases the tears throughout the day.
- Punctal Plugs: Punctal plugs are designed to close your tear ducts, which will reduce tear loss. The plugs will need to be removed and replaced regularly. This is used in more severe cases of dry eye.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of dry eye, our doctors of optometry at Albuquerque Vision Center and Advanced Eyewear in Albuquerque, NM can perform the necessary tests to determine if you have dry eye. To schedule an appointment, give our optometry clinic a call today at 505-332-2020.