Understanding the Causes and Treatment Options for Dry Eye Disease

Understanding the Causes and Treatment Options for Dry Eye Disease

Understanding the Causes and Treatment Options for Dry Eye Disease

Understanding the Causes and Treatment Options for Dry Eye Disease

Understanding the Causes and Treatment Options for Dry Eye Disease

Dry eye disease occurs when the tears do not produce adequate eye lubrication. Tears can be unstable or inadequate for various reasons. Poor quality or too few tears leave the eyes dehydrated. It can lead to inflammation and damage to the eye surface. Dry eyes feel uncomfortable and often burn or sting, especially in certain environments or situations. 



Causes of Dry Eye 



Eye dryness occurs due to various factors that disrupt the tear film. A healthy tear film has three layers—water, oils, and mucus. The tears keep the eye surface smooth, clear, and lubricated. An issue with any of the layers can lead to dry eyes. 


Tear film problems can be due to inflamed eyelid glands, autoimmune diseases, hormone changes, or eye allergies. Increased tear evaporation or reduced tear production causes eye dryness. Treating the underlying issue can help relieve eye dryness. 



Symptoms of Dry Eye 



Dry eye symptoms usually impact both eyes. They include:


  • A burning or stinging sensation.
  • A sensation of something in the eye.
  • Eye redness and eye fatigue.
  • Stringy discharge in and around the eyes.
  • Sensitivity to light. 
  • Blurry vision. 
  • Difficulty with night driving.
  • Discomfort when wearing contact lenses. 
  • Excessively watery eyes. 
  • If you have prolonged or severe dry eye symptoms, visit an eye specialist to determine the underlying cause. 



Risk Factors for Dry Eye 



Some factors make people more susceptible to experiencing dry eye. The condition is more likely to affect individuals over 50 as tear production reduces with age. It is also more prevalent among women due to hormonal changes. 


Consuming diets low in essential nutrients such as vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids can increase the risk of eye dryness. A history of eye surgery and wearing contact lenses are also risk factors. 



Complications of Dry Eye



Several complications are associated with dry eye disease. People with the condition are likely to suffer from eye infections. Tears protect the eye surface from infections. Without adequate protection, the eye surface is susceptible to damage. 


Severe dry eye can lead to inflammation, cornea surface abrasion, corneal ulcers, and vision loss. Patients experience a reduced quality of life as dry eye makes it hard to perform certain activities. 



Treatment Options for Dry Eye



Treatment of dry eye disease will depend on the underlying cause, severity, and other factors. Artificial tears or nonprescription eye drops can relieve mild symptoms. Severe symptoms may require other treatment options. The options include:


  • Medications to reduce eyelid inflammation.
  • Eye drops to treat eye surface inflammation. 
  • Medications to stimulate tears. 
  • Eye inserts. 
  • Autologous blood serum drops. 
  • Punctal plugs to close tear ducts, reducing tear loss. 
  • Special contact lenses.
  • Thermal pulsation to unclog oil glands. 
  • Intense pulsed light therapy.


Your eye doctor will recommend the best treatment, depending on your condition. Most people require regular treatment for life. Washing your eyelids frequently and using warm compresses can help soothe the eyes and relieve dry eye symptoms.


For more on understanding the causes and treatment options for dry eye disease, visit Pilot Point Family Eye Care at our office in Pilot Point, Texas. Call (940) 248-9868 to book an appointment today.

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