Do your eyes often feel dry, scratchy, or irritated throughout your day? Do you ever find that your eyes start watering or tearing up for no reason at all?
These are some common symptoms of a condition called dry eye syndrome. Although it is common, many people don’t know they have dry eyes or that there’s treatment available to help their eyes feel better!
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye is a condition that occurs when your tears can’t lubricate your eyes. This usually happens because your eyes cannot produce enough tears or the tears produced are low-quality.
Tears are what keep your eyes healthy. They also make sure your vision stays clear. When your eyes don’t produce enough tears, you may feel uncomfortable.
If you leave dry eye untreated, it could lead to permanent vision problems that get worse over time.
What Are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?
You might have dry eye if:
- Your eyes sting, burn, or feel scratchy
- You become more sensitive to light
- Your eyes are watery or tear up easily
- Your eyes are red
- You feel like there’s something in your eye
- You have trouble wearing contact lenses
- You find it difficult to drive at night
- Your eyes get tired or feel fatigued
- Your eyes produce a stringy mucus
- Your vision becomes blurrier and things become harder to see clearly
If you have any of these symptoms and they do not get any better, see your ophthalmologist in Sherman Oaks at IQ Laser Vision for treatment. It’s important to seek treatment sooner than later to avoid any permanent damage to your vision.
How is Dry Eye Diagnosed?
If you suspect you have dry eye, make an appointment with your eye doctor. They will ask about your symptoms and lifestyle. They’ll also examine your eye and perform tests that measure your tears.
This includes measuring both the quantity and the quality of the tears you produce. They may also put special dyes in your eyes. These allow them to look at how tears flow from your eyes and if there are any problems with this process.
What Causes Dry Eye?
If you have dry eyes, this can be due to a few different things. Your dry eye might be happening because your eyes can’t produce enough tears. Decreased tear production can be caused by factors such as:
- Medical conditions including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disorders
- Some medications like antihistamines, antidepressants, and medications for high blood pressure
You can also develop dry eye if your tears evaporate too quickly due to dry air and the environment you live in. You may also have eyelid problems, you don’t blink as much as you should, or you could have an issue with your tear film.
Tears need to cover the full surface of the eye to provide necessary nutrients and keep the eye lubricated. An issue with the tear film could cause the tears to evaporate from the eyes too quickly and not cover the complete surface of the eye.
Some people are more at risk for dry eye.
You’re more likely to have dry eye if you are:
- Older than 50
- Eating a diet that’s low in vitamin A or omega-3 fatty acids
- Wearing contact lenses
Does Dry Eye Have Any Complications?
If you have dry eye, you can also develop other complications as well. When your eyes don’t produce enough tears, you become more likely to develop eye infections. Severe dry eyes can cause other vision problems like eye inflammation. This is why it’s so important to seek treatment for your dry eyes as soon as possible!
Early diagnosis leads to earlier treatment, letting your eyes recover.
Can I Treat My Dry Eye On My Own?
If your symptoms are mild enough, you may be able to treat some of your dry eye symptoms on your own. Try some of these steps to reduce your dry eye symptoms:
Practice the 20-20-20 rule
If you spend a lot of time working in front of a computer, this should be something you do frequently! The 20-20-20 rule is quite simple.
Every 20 minutes take a break for 20 seconds to focus on something that’s at least 20 feet away from you. This is an easy way to give your eyes a break, especially if you spend a lot of time on the computer. Make sure to blink and if you can, get up and move around as well!
Drinking more water
If your eyes are dry, hydration can come from more than just putting in eye drops and artificial tears. Start from within by drinking more water every day.
If you drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day, your eyes should start to feel a little less dry. If you don’t love drinking water, you can also reap the benefits of hydration with what you eat as well.
Eating more foods like watermelon, cucumber, celery, tomatoes, cauliflower, and zucchini, to name just a few, can help you increase how hydrated you are. If your body is more hydrated, your eyes will be as well.
Use a humidifier
Want to help your eyes without even thinking about it? A simple humidifier can work wonders at putting water back into the air that may have been lost.
You may think that humidifiers are only for when it’s cold and dry outside, but if your eyes are dry, there’s no reason not to use them. Make sure to put one in your bedroom as well as any other rooms you spend the most time in for the most benefits.
Try to blink more
Blinking more can sound a little silly but blinking is actually an important part of how your eyes stay hydrated and lubricated. If you spend hours working on projects or in front of screens, your blink rate gets cut in half. Make an active effort to blink more, even if your eyes don’t feel dry yet.
Treating dry eye using self-care techniques can work for some people but it may take a combination of these along with lifestyle changes, medication, or surgical procedures to find true relief of your dry eye symptoms.
Living in a drier climate like California, you may have dry eyes or experience dry eye symptoms and not even know it! Even your environment can impact your eyes, especially when you live somewhere that’s warmer and drier much of the year, like California usually is.
How Can I Treat Dry Eye If Home Remedies Didn’t Help?
When at home remedies and treatments aren’t enough to treat dry eye symptoms, IQ Laser Vision offers several procedures as part of our dry eye treatments in San Jose. They include the following:
Meibomian Gland Expression
Your eye doctor can drain the meibomian glands in your eye to help your eye produce tears more easily. Meibomian glands are oil glands along your eyelid.
They produce oil that is part of your eyes’ tears. Meibomian gland expression is not painful and uses a special instrument specially developed by Dr. Robert Lin to unblock the glands.
This expresses any stagnant secretions from the glands that blocked the gland opening, which often leads to irritation, dry eyes, and tears evaporating from the eye too quickly. Draining the glands with manual expression helps unblock them and increases the chance that new secretions are produced.
Oasis Temporary and Permanent Plugs
This procedure blocks the tear ducts to help your eyes produce more tears. Depending on the severity of your dry eye symptoms, the Oasis punctal plugs come in both temporary and permanent forms.
Oasis punctal plugs begin hydrating the eyes over a period of ten minutes. They are biocompatible, meaning patients don’t run the risk of experiencing a foreign body sensation.
They are also sterile and comfortable for patients. Both forms are easily reversed if needed through irrigation of the tear duct.
Over 50% of patients with dry eye syndrome also suffer from blepharitis symptoms. Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids.
The eyelids may become itchy, red, or irritated with scales forming on the eyelashes. This is most often caused by bacteria or a skin condition like rosacea or scalp dandruff.
IQ Laser Vision is happy to offer BlephEx, an in-office procedure that removes excess bacteria, biofilm and toxins. These are some of the main causes of dry eye syndrome and blepharitis.
When patients have regular BlephEx treatments, they can finally find relief from the irritating symptoms of dry eye and blepharitis. Most patients tolerate BlephEx quite well, with few side effects and even save hundreds of dollars every year on prescription drops and other medications.
MiBoFlo dry eye treatment in Inland Empire at IQ Laser Vision is a new therapeutic device for treating dry eye. MiBoFlo uses a proprietary thermoelectric heat pump.
This turns dried-up tears into liquid, improving how meibomian glands function. MiBoFlo also helps improve the rate that tears evaporate from the eyes at.
This is a problem for people with dry eyes. The MiBoFlo treatment is short and painless to undergo.
LipiFlow devices remove blockages from your tear glands so the glands can function. This treatment can help your tear glands work correctly.
The LipiFlow Activator treats the meibomian glands. This uses Vectored Thermal Pulse Technology. Feedback loops send pulsed sequences. This removes blockages in the glands.
LipiScan technology uses Dynamic Meibomian Imaging. This takes an image of your meibomian glands, allowing your eye doctor to see how healthy the glands are.
Tired of living with the symptoms of dry eye syndrome?
Schedule an appointment at IQ Laser Vision to discuss your dry eye treatment options!