If your eyes feel itchy, irritated and dry, you may be experiencing symptoms of dry eye. Dry eye is a common eye condition. Left untreated, however, it could lead to more serious eye conditions. These FAQs from Chapel Hill Ophthalmology explain more about dry eye causes, symptoms and treatment.
What causes dry eye?
Tears are necessary to keep your eyes lubricated and moist. Tears also wash away dirt and debris in your eye to prevent infections. When you have dry eye, your eyes stop producing quality tears, leaving them irritated and dry.
There are various possibilities for what causes your eyes to stop producing tears. Age can affect tear production, causing your eyes to lose precious moisture. Dry eye can also be caused by excess computer use, corneal infections, elements in your environment (pollen, air pollution, smoke, etc.), certain medications like antidepressants and antihistamines, and certain health issues such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes or thyroid problems.
How do I know I have dry eye?
Dry eye symptoms may range from dry, itchy eyes to burning, watery eyes. Your eyes may produce excess tears to compensate for eye dryness. These tears are of low quality and simply spill out of your eyes, making them ineffective in keeping your eyes moist. Dry eye may produce discharge from your eyes and your eyes may feel irritated, like something is inside.
If you are experiencing some or all these symptoms, contact your Chapel Hill eye doctor for a checkup. We will thoroughly evaluate your eyes and give you an accurate diagnosis of your condition.
How does dry eye affect your sight?
Dry eye symptoms can produce blurred vision, making it difficult to drive or partake of activities you enjoy such as reading or watching TV. Chronic dry eye symptoms can irritate you to the point that you are constantly scratching your eyes, leaving them red and blotchy. As your symptoms worsen, you run the risk of developing eye infections, corneal ulcers or conjunctivitis.
What is the treatment for dry eye?
There is more than one treatment for dry eye, depending on the severity of your condition. Mild dry eye can often be treated with OTC eye drops to keep eyes moist and lubricated. Severe dry eye may require prescription eye drops or ointments or medications designed to stimulate production of tears.
What prescription do I receive?
If you are wondering “what prescription do I receive,” talk to your Chapel Hill eye doctor about options for treatment. We will recommend the treatment best suited to your particular condition and lifestyle.
See Your Chapel Hill Ophthalmologist for Dry Eye Treatment
For diagnosis and treatment of dry eye, contact Chapel Hill Ophthalmology at (919) 942-8701 today. We are here to meet all your eye care needs.