If you’ve ever experienced irritation or redness in your eyes, it could be a sign of dry eye syndrome. Dry eye is a condition that can cause discomfort and even long-term vision problems if left untreated. Fortunately, there are treatments available to help relieve symptoms and protect your vision. Let’s take a look at the top causes and treatment options for dry eye syndrome.
What is dry eye syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly from the surface of your eyes. This can lead to an uncomfortable burning sensation in your eyes, as well as blurry vision and light sensitivity. In more severe cases, dry eye can even damage the front surface of the eye, leading to long-term vision problems.
Common causes of dry eye syndrome
There are many factors that can contribute to dry eye syndrome including:
- Age (the older you get, the less natural lubrication your eyes have)
- Meibomian gland dysfunction
- Certain medical conditions such as diabetes or thyroid disease
- Smoking cigarettes
- Long-term use of contact lenses
- Environmental factors such as air pollution or windy weather
- Medications such as antihistamines or antidepressants
Prolonged computer use and exposure to digital screens have also been linked to dry eye syndrome.
Treatments for dry eye syndrome
Treatment for dry eye varies depending on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying cause(s). At Omaha Primary EyeCare, we offer treatments in our office for dry eye caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), one of the most common causes of dry eye.
One treatment option available is the LipiFlow® Thermal Pulsation System. It is the only electronic device approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of MGD. This non-invasive treatment takes less than 20 minutes and relies on Vector Thermal Pulsing technology to send heat into the glands inside your eyelids. The best part is you can resume normal activities right after treatment.
OptiLight is another effective treatment for dry eye due to MGD. OptiLight by Lumenis is a non-invasive, light-based treatment that uses precise pulses of light to reduce inflammation associated with dry eye syndrome. Treatment typically includes 4 sessions spaced 2-4 weeks apart, and there’s no downtime after each session. Our team of eye care professionals can perform a comprehensive eye exam and recommend the best treatment option based on your specific case.
How an eye doctor can help
An optometrist can diagnose dry eye syndrome with a comprehensive exam that includes tests such as a slit lamp examination and Schirmer’s test. Your doctor will then recommend treatment based on the test results.
No matter how mild or severe your symptoms are, you should see an optometrist if you think you have dry eye syndrome. With proper diagnosis and treatment from the professionals at Omaha Primary EyeCare, you can manage your symptoms effectively so that they don’t interfere with your quality of life.