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What Is Chronic Dry Eye?
Chronic dry eye, or dry eye syndrome, is caused by a constant lack of lubrication on the surface of the eyeball. The results can be minor, such as an irritated feeling in the eyes, but if left untreated chronic dry eye can cause permanent scarring on the surface of the eye. This condition is a common one; almost half of all adults in the U.S. suffer from occasional dry eye symptoms. Over 12 million adults suffered from dry eye in a 2012 poll, and the number is constantly rising.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
In normal eyes, a constant supply of tears keeps the surface comfortable and lubricated. These tears keep the surface of the eye moist as well as washing away dust, pollen, and germs that can cause infections. Tears are composed of three different components, each produced by a different gland in or near the eye. If any one of these three glands develops a problem, dry eyes can be the result.
Causes of Dry Eye Syndrome
There is no single cause of chronic dry eye. Patients develop the condition from a number of different causes, including:
- Using a computer or smartphone for an extended length of time
- Wearing contact lenses
- Frequent flying
- Diseases such as diabetes
- Aging and menopause
- Indoor environment including air conditioning and fans
- Medications such as antihistamines and birth control pills
Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome
Each patient will present a different combination of symptoms when suffering from dry eye syndrome, but the most commonly experienced ones are burning and itching eyes, watering, a feeling of dryness, red eyes and watering. Your vision may blur and you may experience a feeling of something in your eyes such as grit or sand. You are much more likely to experience dry eyes if you are 50 or older, if you are a woman or if you spend a significant part of your day using a computer, but anyone can develop the condition.
Dry Eye Treatment
At Harrel Eyecare, we offer many different effective treatments for chronic dry eye. The simplest of these is environmental. If your symptoms are due to excess computer use or your indoor environment, we will give you coping tools to help your eyes during your normal day. Small actions like looking away from the computer every 20 minutes and aiming fans in a different direction can have surprisingly good results. For patients with mild cases, artificial tears may be the only medication they need.
For more serious cases, we offer traditional medical treatments such as punctal plugs, which are tiny devices inserted into the tear ducts which prevent the tears from draining so promptly. This allows your eyes to remain lubricated for a longer period of time. We also have great results with the MiBoFlo ThermaFlo treatment. This therapy improves the gland function in your eyes with a painless, soothing treatment that leaves eyes feeling free of symptoms.
Visit Harrel Eyecare Today
The symptoms of chronic dry eyes might seem like a small annoyance, but if left untreated they can cause serious problems with your eyesight. If you are experiencing dry eye problems, call our office at (918) 745-9662. The experienced team at Harrel Eyecare are here to take care of any eye problems you may have.