Dry eye is one of the most common forms of eye irritation in the United States, affecting nearly 5 million American over the age of 50. It usually occurs when a person does not produce enough tears to properly lubricate their eyes. While mild symptoms may come and go due to allergies and other temporary environmental factors, long periods of unaddressed dry eye can lead to serious problems, including vision impairment. Because of this danger, dry eye should be taken very seriously. The ophthalmologists at Seaside Ophthalmology in Brunswick, GA, offer several dry eye treatments that can alleviate your discomfort and prevent more serious repercussions.
What Is Dry Eye?
Persistent symptoms such as dryness or itchiness may be a sign of dry eye syndrome. There are many potential causes of this condition, including:
- Aging: Many people experience a decrease in tear production as the body undergoes hormonal changes.
- Allergies: Pollen and other types of allergens are easily the most common eye irritant.
- Contact lenses: Contacts are a common eye irritant that can lead to dry eye symptoms.
- Health conditions: Certain immune conditions, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, are known to impact tear production.
- Medication: Certain types of prescription and over-the-counter drugs can interfere with tear function.
During an examination with a qualified ophthalmologist at Seaside Ophthalmology, we can determine whether or not dry eye is responsible for your symptoms and recommend the most appropriate treatment.
Benefits of Dry Eye Treatments
The most obvious benefit to seeking out treatment is the relief. While the immediate symptoms of dry eye are not necessarily dangerous, they are often irritating to the point of distraction. Patients often find that they are much more comfortable once the symptoms are under control.
Furthermore, alleviating symptoms can also prevent long-term damage to the eye’s surface. Tears protect the eye from foreign objects and allow it to function normally. Without that protection, our eyes are left at serious risk. Consequently, treatment for dry eye can lower the risk of eye infections and even vision loss.
Treatment Options for Dry Eye
There are many treatments available for relieving the effects of dry eye. Patients can choose from eye drops, medication, punctal plugs, and eye surgery, depending on their preferences and the severity of the condition.
Eye drops are one of the more popular options. They typically contain water, salt, and chemicals that mimic natural tears and work to reduce eye irritation.
More advanced cases may require different kinds of medications. Ophthalmologists may prescribe nutrient supplements, such as BioTears, to address the overproduction of fatty acids that can cause inflammation in the eyes. However, many such drugs are not recommended for long term use.
Non-medicinal treatments for addressing dry eye include surgery to close tear ducts and reduce tear loss, special contact lenses, or punctal plugs. These tiny devices are inserted directly into the tear ducts to prevent tears from draining out of the eye.
End Dry Eye Today
Dry eye symptoms may lead to vision impairments and other complications if left untreated. At Seaside Ophthalmology, we pride ourselves on providing exceptional eye care. We are conveniently located at four offices in Georgia. Our patients always receive one-on-one care. To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call (912) 466-9500.