Diagnosing & Treating Dry Eye
Dry eye is a medical condition that occurs when the body does not produce enough tears. Since tears are the only source of lubrication for the eyes, they become very dry and irritated when the tears are unable to properly do their job. This can be caused by a number of different reasons including aging, side effects from medication, failing to blink regularly, and windy or smoky environments. Dry eyes can cause a lot of complications, so it is best to find a way to effectively lubricate the eyes as soon as you experience some symptoms.
Dry eye typically causes a distinct set of symptoms. A few of the most common symptoms you will experience are redness, light sensitivity, blurry vision, eye fatigue, and a burning sensation on the eyes.
All of these issues will generally affect both eyes at the same time. It is very rare to have a problem with tear production in only one eye. If you are dealing with these symptoms on a regular basis, then it is time to get checked out by a medical professional.
Diagnosing Dry Eye
The doctor will have to perform a series of tests in order to diagnose your condition. They will start out by doing a rigorous eye exam. The next step is to measure the volume of your tears by placing a special strip of paper under your eyelids for five minutes. The doctor will also measure how long it takes for your tears to evaporate. The information gained during these tests will be used to determine the best treatment plan.
Treating Dry Eye
If you are not experiencing dry eyes on a regular basis, then your issue can be treated without any medical intervention. Use over-the-counter eye drops when the eyes get irritated. It is also a good idea to wash your eyelids on a regular basis with a warm cloth. This will prevent dirt or debris from hurting the eyes.
Prescription medication will need to be used if you are experiencing mild dry eye symptoms on a fairly regular basis. Prescription eye drops are designed to provide lubrication while also reducing the inflammation on the surface of your eyes. You will also likely be prescribed a medication that helps the body produce more tears. Combining these medications will greatly reduce the severity and frequency of your symptoms.
If you are dealing with a serious case of dry eye, then you will likely need to undergo a medical procedure in order to relieve your problematic symptoms. Partially closing the tear ducts with silicone plugs is an extremely effective treatment for this condition. The plugs prevent tears from quickly draining from the eyes, which ultimately leads to increased lubrication. These plugs can be removed at any time if they become uncomfortable. Intense-pulsed light therapy has also been proven to be very effective in serious cases of dry eye.