If your eyes have been irritating you lately, you may be wondering whether you have the common problem known as dry eye. Take a look at these frequently asked questions about dry eye from our optometry team at Fountain Valley Optometry in Fountain Valley, CA.
What Kind of Condition Is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is not one specific condition. Instead, it is a syndrome, or a set of associated conditions, having to do with lack of eye moisture or lubrication. It is typically related to insufficiency or imbalance in the tear film that normally covers the eye.
How Does the Tear Film Serve the Eye?
The tear film is a three-layered film that is replenished every time you blink. The mucous layer protects against disease, while the water layer hydrates the eye. The oil layer prevents the water layer from evaporating.
What Causes Dry Eye?
Age can reduce the amount of water your tear glands produce, which is the most common cause of dry eye. Medications, autoimmune disorders, and anything that promotes dryness can also cause it. Blockages in the eyelid's meibomian glands can reduce oil production, causing the water to evaporate. Windy conditions or infrequent blinking, often related to computer usage, can accelerate the drying effect.
What Are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?
The most common symptoms of dry eye include red, itchy, irritated, and unusually sensitive to light. Your vision may seem blurred, or you may feel as if you have something in your eye.
Why Do I Need to Get My Dry Eyes Treated?
If dry eye goes untreated for too long, the eyes become exposed to infections, debris, and injuries. The corneas may sustain scars that can impair your vision.
How Does Your Eye Doctor Diagnose Dry Eye?
Either eye doctor at our optometry clinic can confirm dry eye or eliminate other possible eye conditions during a comprehensive exam. Analysis of your tear composition can reveal any imbalances.
What Are My Dry Eye Treatment Options?
Artificial tears or prescription eye drops can soothe and protect dry eyes. We may also recommend wraparound sunglasses for outdoor use, changes in your work habits, adjustments to your medication, dietary changes, punctal plugs to discourage tear drainage or treatment for an underlying condition. You might require treatment to unblock your meibomian glands.
Schedule an Appointment with Our Optometrist in Fountain Valley, CA
If you have dry eye, you don't just need answers to your questions, you also need the treatment that leads to relief. Call Fountain Valley Optometry today at (714) 210-2393 for more information or to schedule an appointment with our eye doctor.