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Dry eye affects millions of patients of both genders and all ages, causing symptoms like itching or burning sensations, excessive tearing and blurry vision that can interfere with many activities of daily living. Fortunately, although dry eye syndrome is common, there are effective treatments that can help relieve symptoms quickly and prevent them from recurring.
As a top-rated optometry practice in Somerset, Franklin Family Eyecare is focused on providing the most innovative solutions for dry eye treatment, helping patients relieve symptoms while improving the health of the eyes. This dry eye FAQ addresses some of the most common questions our patients ask about dry eye.
Some types of dry eye are caused by insufficient blinking, especially in people who spend long periods of time staring at a computer screen or other electronic device or working on detailed “close-up” work. Other times, dry eye symptoms can be caused by allergens like dust, pollen or pet dander, or from chronic exposure to irritants like chemicals or smoke. Underlying medical conditions including some autoimmune diseases can also cause dry eye, and so can long-term use of certain types of medications, including antihistamines, diuretics and antidepressants. And finally, some men and women have dry eyes because their eyes don’t produce enough tears or because the tears that are produced are of poor quality and can’t adequately moisten the eye surface.
In addition to burning and itching sensations and excessive tearing, people with dry eyes may be extra sensitive to lights, and they often experience a “foreign body sensation” - the sensation that there’s something stuck in the eye.
To diagnose dry eye, the optometrist performs a comprehensive eye exam to evaluate the patient’s symptoms and their vision. The cornea will be carefully examined using a special dye to look for tiny scratches or other signs of damage that can be caused by untreated dry eye syndrome. The doctor may also examine the tear-producing glands and take a small sample of tear fluid for further evaluation.
Since the cause of dry eye symptoms has been determined, the eye doctor can tailor treatment to suit the patient’s specific needs. Dry eye caused by underlying medical conditions like allergies can be relieved by treating those underlying issues. Other patients can benefit from special eye drops designed to moisten the eye or from medications that help stimulate the production and distribution of tears. Patients with very severe symptoms may consider special contact lenses composed of “hydrogel,” a material designed to attract and retain moisture on the eye surface, helping to reduce symptoms.
Dry eye can cause a lot of discomfort, and without treatment, it can also damage your eyes. If you’re experiencing the symptoms of dry eye, don’t delay care. Call Franklin Family Eyecare at 732-412-7328 and schedule your eye exam today.