We are speaking with Dr. Greene about Dry Eye. Dr. Greene, as a dry eye specialist, please tell us:
How do I know if I have dry eye?
Dr. Greene: Many patients come into our office complaining of scratchy, gritty, dry, itchy, stinging, and watery eyes. These are the most common symptoms of dry eye. We will then perform certain tests to determine if you do have dry eye, as opposed to another problem. We will first conduct an evaporation test. This test tells us how long it takes your tears to evaporate. We will also check for corneal damage and tear production. These are tests which we run on most of our patients during a routine eye exam, since many people may think their symptoms are from allergies, or may be asymptomatic and might not realize they have dry eye.
How do you treat dry eye?
Dr. Greene: As a dry eye specialist, depending on the severity and exact cause of the patient's dry eye we will utilize any and all of the best treatments available. The treatments can be one or, a combination of: artificial tears, punctal plugs, prescription eye drops, warm compresses, steroids, and vitamin supplements.
What can I do to prevent me from getting dry eye?
Dr. Greene: Many people find if they cover their eyes while they sleep it helps. Like people who sleep with a c-pap machine or a ceiling fan should use a sleep mask. If someone is around a lot of dust, smoke or chemical fumes that can cause dry eye. So, we would recommend changing your environment to avoid such irritants.
Dry eye is a chronic disease and has to be continually treated, and with proper treatment vision is usually not affected. However, if left untreated, severe damage can occur to your eyes and your vision. Therefore, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please make sure to come in for an exam to determine whether you have dry eye or not, and if you do, to start treatment right away to prevent any damage.