Chronic dry eye is a medical disease that, over time, can decrease the eye’s ability to make and/or maintain sufficient quality and quantity of tears for a healthy tear film. Millions of people in the United States suffer from symptoms of chronic dry eye.
Chronic dry eye symptoms may include:
- Watering eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- A gritty or sandy sensation
- Sensation of something in your eye
- Blurry vision
- Problems wearing contact lenses
Causes of Chronic Dry Eye
Chronic dry eye may be caused by instability of the tear film. Several different tear layers collaborate to make and maintain the tears that keep your eyes continually moist and healthy. Dysfunctions causing instability in one or more of these layers can lead to chronic dry eye.
Chronic dry eye may involve inflammation affecting the glands which can decrease tear production. Inflammation can also affect the glands’ ability to create and maintain the lipid layer (top layer) of the tear film. The lipid layer slows tear evaporation.
Chronic dry eye may be associated with other eye or health conditions including glaucoma, diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren’s syndrome.
Certain external conditions can aggravate dry eye symptoms including pollen and allergies, dry air or wind, dust or smoke, sitting too long at the computer, and wearing contact lenses.
Chronic Dry Eye Treatment
There are several ways to manage chronic dry eye:
Artificial tears – Also known as over-the-counter eye drops, most of these temporarily provide moisture to the eye and relieve dry eye symptoms.
Prescription medicine – Some options for treatment of dry eye are only available by prescription from your eye doctor.
Tear duct plugs – Also known as punctal plugs, these are silicone plugs that can be inserted to close the ducts that drain tears out of the eye.
If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms in Medford, contact Medical Eye Center at 541-779-4711 or www.medicaleyecenter.com to schedule an appointment. Together, you and your doctor will choose the treatment option that’s best for you.