Many patients experience a condition called dry eye, which although it is common, it must be monitored and treated, or overtime, it may lead to more serious eye problems. Dry Eye is a common condition amongst residents living in New Jersey.
Symptoms Of Dry Eye
Symptoms vary from patient to patient. The most common complaint is dry, red and itchy eyes. Another common symptom, as strange as it sounds, is watery eyes. This is caused from the eye over producing tears are a “reflex” to dry eye syndrome.
Foreign Body Sensations
Diagnosis Of Dry Eye
Because dry eye symptoms are many, and because the symptoms can be mimicked by many other conditions, e.g. allergies, dry eye is difficult to diagnose. Ophthalmologists generally start with a simple eye examination. Sometimes tests that measure tear production are employed to determine if patients have a more specific form of the condition called evaporative dry eye. A few other noninvasive tests may be used, but a history of patient symptoms is always helpful.
Treatment Of Dry Eye
Many experts suggest a nutritional approach for patients with very mild symptoms. Omega-3 oils reduce inflammation of the tear oil glands. As inflammation is reduced, the quality of the tears’ oil layer improves.
Adding artificial tears is a good solution for patients with inadequate tears of good quality. Such eye drops are, of course, available without prescription, and can be administered liberally without side effects. Preservative-free formulas are preferred.
When natural and over-the-counter approaches fail, patients need something more. Punctal plugs are small plugs made of biocompatible silicon that can be placed in the drainage ducts near the lower eyelid. Tears typically drain out of the eye, leaving through drainage ducts into the nose. Punctal plugs can be placed temporarily or permanently to conserve tears and provide more natural lubrication for the eye.
Warm compresses, or applications of a warm wet washcloth to the eyes with gentle pressure for about 15 minute intervals, can often stimulate the oil glands to flow more readily and more easily. A more advanced technique with a similar mechanism of action to warm compresses, LipiFlow, is also shown to provide sustained improvement for patients in clinical studies.
Many dry eye patients think that their eyes are just ‘supposed to hurt’, and have learned to live with their condition. Unfortunately, this can cause more serious problems over time. We suggest any of the above listed treatments to help patients see more clearly and live more comfortably.
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