Dry eye syndrome is a relatively common eye condition. It occurs when your eyes don't produce enough tears to keep your eyes lubricated, causing a variety of symptoms. At Curtis R. Anderson, O.D. in Lawrence, KS, our optometrist diagnoses dry eye and provides treatments options to alleviate pain and other symptoms.
Developing Dry Eye
Anyone can develop dry eye. However, certain factors can increase your risk of developing this condition.
- As you get older, your eyes produce fewer tears.
- Certain medical conditions can cause dry eye, including allergic eye disease, thyroid disorders, sarcoidosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and vitamin A deficiency.
- Certain medications list dry eye as a side effect. These include decongestants, antihistamines, birth control, acne medications, high blood pressure medication, antidepressants, and medication for high blood pressure.
- Long-term use of contact lenses
- Previous laser eye surgery
Symptoms of Dry Eye
Dry eye causes a variety of symptoms. The more serious your symptoms, the more severe your condition will be.
- Feeling like you have something in your eyes
- A burning or stinging sensation in the eyes
- A scratchy sensation in the eyes
- Stringy mucus in the eyes
- Redness of the eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Trouble driving at night
- Blurry vision
- Eye fatigue
- Trouble wearing contacts
Diagnosing Dry Eye
Dry eye can be diagnosed during your annual eye exam. If you tell our optometrist about your symptoms, we will perform a Schirmer test to confirm the diagnosis. This involves putting a blotting strip under your lower lid to measure the number of tears the strip soaks up in five minutes.
Dry Eye Treatment
There are several treatment options for dry eye. The one our eye doctor chooses depends on the severity of your condition.
- Artificial tears: Our eye doctor will prescribe these drops if your condition is mild to moderate.
- Eye inserts: Eye inserts work the same way as artificial tears, but they are an extended release treatment. The insert is about the size of a grain of rice, and they are placed between your lower lid and your eye. During the day, the insert will dissolve slowly, keeping your eyes lubricated.
- Tear-stimulating medication: Our eye doctor can prescribe medication designed to help you produce more natural tears.
- Punctal plugs: Punctal plugs are placed in your eyes and they are removable. They are designed to partially or completely close your tear ducts, preventing your natural tears from draining away.
- Thermal cautery: If punctal plugs are effective, thermal cautery is an excellent option. This involves using heat to close the tear ducts, and this is a permanent treatment option.
Visit Our Optometrist in Lawrence, KS for Dry Eye Treatment
If you are experiencing the symptoms of dry eye, we can help. At Curtis R. Anderson, O.D. in Lawrence, KS, we provide dry eye treatment and other eye care services. Call us today to schedule an appointment.