Millions of people suffer from dry eye, which often becomes chronic. Older adults are the most affected. Eye doctors from California’s Clarity Eye Group discuss all aspects of dry eye, from causes to prevention to treatment options.  

What is Dry Eye? 

Eyes require lubrication for good health. Not only does a well-lubricated eye remain in good condition via tears, but lack of tears can harm the eye’s front surface and affect vision. When a person does not produce enough tears, dry eye occurs. 

Symptoms of dry eye include:

  • Light sensitivity
  • Redness
  • Scratching or burning
  • Strings of mucus around the eyes 

What Causes Dry Eye? 

Dry eye has two main causes. Either the person’s eyes are not producing enough tears to keep the eyes well-lubricated, or the tears produced are poor quality. Other factors coming into play include environmental conditions, as living in an arid climate can reduce tear production; side effects of certain medications; and particular illnesses. The latter include diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid issues. As noted, eyes tend to dry out as part of the aging process. 

How Is Dry Eye Treated? 

Treatment of dry eye generally includes using eye drops regularly to keep eyes moist. Those with a mild case of dry eye may not require any other sort of treatment to manage their condition. Your doctor might prescribe additional eye drops designed to increase tear production. He or she may also recommend that patients take a daily omega-3 fatty acid supplement, which may aid in boosting production of tears. 

Those dealing with chronic dry eye that does not respond to eye drops may undergo a tear conservation procedure. This entails tear duct blockage, so that tears remain in the eyes longer. The ducts are blocked with a silicone gel that is easily removed, if necessary. Some patients may decide to undergo permanent tear duct blockage surgery. 

How Do You Prevent Dry Eye? 

Although dry eye is not always preventable, there are steps you can take to diminish its effects. While working on a computer, make sure to blink regularly. Drink plenty of water, which helps with tear production and keeps you well-hydrated overall. When outside, wear sunglasses, and indoors, use a humidifier if your home is dry. 

For More Information, Contact Clarity Eye Group

If you would like more information about dry eye and its symptoms, treatment and prevention, schedule a personal consultation with team members at the California practice of Clarity Eye Group. We will discuss your case and let you know your treatment options.