What are the risk factors for dry eye disease?
Factors that may increase the risk of getting dry eye disease include the following:
- Being over the age of 50
- Being a woman – particularly a woman experiencing hormonal changes due to pregnancy, menopause or the use of oral contraceptives
- Contact lens wear
- Use of medications that dry out the eyes – including antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants
- History of certain systemic diseases – including diabetes, thyroid disease, autoimmune disease
- Prolonged use of computers and other digital devices
- Living in a dry, arid climate
How can I have dry eye disease if my eyes constantly water?
Oddly enough, excessive tearing and watery eyes can suggest dry eye. Excessive tears are the body’s way of compensating for extremely dry eyes. But because these tears do not contain the right balance of water, mucus and oil, they cannot properly lubricate the eyes.
Is it OK to use eye drops for dry eye every day?
You should use eye drops for dry eye exactly as directed by your doctor. Eye drops are not meant as a long-term cure for dry eye disease. They are usually a good solution to alleviate symptoms while your doctor determines the underlying reason for your condition.
Can I go blind from dry eye?
If chronic dry eye disease is left untreated, it can eventually damage the surface of your eye. Your cornea could develop abrasions, inflammation, ulcers or other complications that lead to further discomfort and even vision impairment.
Are there natural ways to minimize dry eye symptoms?
Our eye doctors may recommend you make the following behavioral and lifestyle changes:
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Eat a balanced diet that includes foods containing omega-3 fatty acids (tuna, salmon, nuts, flaxseed).
- Take frequent breaks while using computers and other digital devices.
- Use a humidifier inside.
- Wear protective eyewear on windy days or when spending time in dry or dusty environments.
- Apply a warm, damp washcloth to your eyelids.
- Do not smoke.
- Switch from wearing contacts to wearing glasses.
- Avoid any air blowing directly into your eyes (including fans and car heaters and air conditioners).
What is the best treatment for dry eyes?
The best treatment for dry eye depends on the root cause of your individual case.
If your eyes make tears but they evaporate too quickly, Blephasteam or intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy may help. The Rexon eye device applies low-energy, high-frequency electrotherapy to clear obstructed meibomian glands contributing to evaporative dry eye. The device works quickly and painlessly, and treatment can be performed in our office.
If your eyes simply do not produce enough tears, medicated eye drops or punctal plugs may improve your condition.
We may also recommend autologous serum tears for the treatment of dry eyes as well as to help heal some corneal wounds or injuries.
Can dry eye disease be cured?
No. Although the symptoms can be well-managed by the dry eye specialists at our practice, dry eye disease is considered a chronic medical condition.