Millions of adults in the US live with dry eye, an irritating and persistent condition that develops when the quantity or quality of your tears can’t keep the surface of your eyes lubricated properly. At the Eyecare Center of Snohomish, dry eye expert Anup Deol, OD offers comprehensive care for this all-too-common eye problem, so you can find the kind of lasting relief that helps you see clearly once again. To learn more, call her Snohomish, Washington office today, or schedule an appointment online any time.
Dry eye occurs when the front surface of your eyes isn’t sufficiently lubricated and nourished, either because your eyes don’t produce a sufficient quantity of tears or because the quality of your tears isn’t adequate enough to keep your eyes moist.
Inadequate tear quantity
Glands in and around your eyelids are tasked with producing enough tears to keep your eyes moist throughout the day. Tear production often declines with age, but certain medications and medical conditions can also make it decrease.
Inadequate tear quality
Healthy, high-quality tears contain three layers: oil, water, and mucus. The mucin layer helps tears spread evenly over the surface of the eye, while the oil layer keeps the water layer from evaporating. If there are insufficiencies within any of these layers, your tears may not spread evenly, or they may evaporate too quickly.
The dry eye produces a gritty, irritating sensation that makes most people feel as if there’s always something in their eyes. Other common symptoms include:
Chronic eye pain or redness
Persistent stinging or burning
Eye discharge and blurred vision
Episodes of excessive dryness
Episodes of excessive tearing
When an untreated dry eye is allowed to progress, it can damage the front surface of your eye and cause serious, long-term vision problems.
Depending on its underlying cause, dry eye can often be relieved or successfully managed with prescription eye drops designed to either supplement or stimulate natural tear production.
If your eyes feel exceptionally irritated, Dr. Deol and her team may recommend regular eyelid massages, warm compresses, or a specific eyelid cleaner to help reduce inflammation around the surface of your eyes.
When it comes to keeping your dry eyes comfortably moist, self-care measures can be just as beneficial as medical interventions. Many people find that simply staying hydrated and making a conscious effort to blink more often can improve the condition.
If you’re often in front of a computer, give your eyes a break by following the 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, take a 20-second break, and look at an object that’s at least 20 feet away.
With the right treatment approach and effective self-care measures, you should be able to manage your dry eye symptoms and keep those symptoms from impacting your vision.
To find out if your red, itchy eyes are a symptom of dry eye, call the Eyecare Center of Snohomish, or book an appointment online today.