Skip to main content

3 Offices located in Americus, Montezuma and Leesburg, GA.

Home »

des_tt

Dry Eye Blog

Dry Eye Air Travel Tips 640×350 1.jpg

5 Ways to Prevent Dry Eyes During Air Travel

Did you know that spending time in a climate-controlled airplane cabin can dry out your eyes? Find out what you can do to keep your eyes hydrated the next time you fly.

Read More
Whats The Link Between Dry Eye And Accutane 640×350 1.jpg

What’s The Link Between Dry Eye and Accutane (Acne Medication)

Isotretinoin, popularly known as Accutane, is a very effective acne medication that may cause eye dryness. In this article, we explain why it causes dry eye symptoms and what you can do to prevent or treat such an occurrence.

Read More
Blinking Exercises 640×350 1.jpg

Blinking Exercises for Dry Eye

Blinking plays a crucial role in maintaining the right amount of moisture on the eye’s surface. If you don’t blink properly or enough, it can leave your eyes feeling dry and irritated. Fortunately, there are certain blinking exercises you can perform to prevent your eyes from becoming dry.

Read More
7 Ways to Wish Dry Eye Goodbye 640×350 1.jpg

7 Ways to Wish Dry Eye ‘Goodbye’

Red, itchy, irritated eyes are no fun. Here are 7 tips for alleviating the discomfort of dry eye syndrome.

Read More
girl sitting in the pool 640×350 1.jpg

What Happens If You Don’t Treat Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome can leave your eyes red, irritated, and itchy. If you ignore your symptoms, other complications can arise. Treating your dry eye syndrome is essential for your eye health and vision.

Read More
What is a Chalazion 640.jpg

What’s a Chalazion?

Do you have a lump on your eyelid? It could be a chalazion. Learn what a chalazion is, how to treat it and prevent it from recurring.

Read More

SPEED™ Questionnaire

woman sunglasses hat sitting beach

What Causes Dry Eye?

Dry eye syndrome (DES) is an unpleasant condition where the eyes feel sore, itchy, gritty, and irritated. It can develop as a result of several factors, such as age, genetics, environment, lifestyle, medications, and overall ocular health. Any of these may lead you to either not produce sufficient tears, or to produce tears whose balance of water, lipids, and mucus aren’t sufficient to lubricate your eyes properly.

Fortunately, this condition can be successfully treated. If you think you may have dry eye syndrome, contact Dr. Valerie Moates today, who will offer you a proper evaluation and provide you with the best options to treat your DES.

Dry Eye May Develop As a Result of…

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) accounts for the majority of cases of dry eye syndrome. It occurs when an abnormality or blockage occurs in the small meibomian glands, which are located in your lower eyelid. This then prevents these tiny glands from producing the lipids needed to maintain the right balance for the optimum quality and functioning of the tears. A shortage of these lipids can cause the tears in your eyes to evaporate too quickly, resulting in dry eyes.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. The affected area is usually at the very end of the eyelid, located at the base of the eyelashes. This inflammation causes the tips of the eyelid to swell up, appear red and inflamed, and produce infected debris called scurf. If you think you may be suffering from this eye condition and are now seeking effective treatment, contact us today.

Certain medical procedures

Complications from certain medical procedures, including eye surgery and radiation therapy, will very often result in DES. Radiation therapy to treat head and neck cancers, cancer of the eye socket or whole brain radiation for brain cancer, often damages the lacrimal glands. The glands may decrease tear production and cause dry eye symptoms.

This is also true for laser eye surgery, such as LASIK, where DES symptoms may develop due to an increased corneal sensitivity following the surgery.

Cataract surgery does not typically worsen dry eyes, as only two very small incisions, less than 2mm each, are made in the cornea during this operation. They heal quickly after surgery. Many eye doctors will assess and treat dry eyes prior to cataract surgery, as a pre-existing dry eye condition can sometimes influence the accuracy of measurements, affecting quality of the vision following the surgery.

Diabetes

Diabetes can lead to dry eyes because of nerve neuropathy. Essentially, the nerves that control the tear ducts may stop functioning properly, resulting in decreased tear production. Furthermore, diabetes can cause loss of corneal sensitivity, which also impacts dry eye syndrome.

Sjogren’s Syndrome

This is an autoimmune disease that can affect the nerves and prevent the tear ducts from producing a sufficient volume of tears.

Thyroid disorder

The thyroid maintains the body’s hormonal and metabolic balance. Therefore, a malfunctioning thyroid alters the metabolism of the entire body — and your eyes are no exception. Both overactive and underactive thyroid conditions can result in dry eyes.

Certain medications

Several medications may cause a reduction in the functionality of the tear ducts and lead to dry eyes. These include:

  • Diuretics
  • Decongestants
  • Antihistamines
  • Anticholinergics
  • Antidepressants
  • Hormones
  • Hypertension medication
  • Dermatological agents
  • Lortab (acetaminophen and hydrocodone)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil)

Please inform us of any medications you are taking, whether over-the-counter or prescription meds, as this will enable us to better assess and treat your dry eye condition. Hormonal changes Sharp changes in your body’s hormone levels will often result in an inflammatory response that can result in dry, irritated eyes.

  • Pregnancy – Blurred vision, itchiness, burning, or discomfort when wearing contact lenses, as well as sensitivity to light may occur during the early stages of pregnancy, when hormones are most active. These hormones have also been shown to adversely impact meibomian glands, located within the upper and lower eyelid margins.

Healthy glands secrete oil in the tears to prevent tear film evaporation. However, when affected, the meibomian glands cause your tears to evaporate more quickly, resulting in unstable tear film and dry eye. The condition can last throughout the pregnancy, during postpartum recovery, and even through the breastfeeding phase.

  • Birth control – The pill, hormonal patches, vaginal rings or IUDs may cause similar hormonal changes as those found during pregnancy, thus resulting in decreased tear production. Producing fewer tears increases the likelihood of developing dry eyes.
  • Menopause – When undergoing menopause, the body produces less progesterone, estrogen, and androgens. The latest research indicates that androgens directly affect the delicate balance of tear production, meaning that fewer androgens will result in fewer tears.

Managing dry eye syndrome in menopausal women requires a customized treatment plan. Contact us today to book an appointment with Dr. Valerie Moates, who will provide you with the most effective treatment for your specific case of dry eye. spring woman flowers eyes closed

Seasonal changes Seasonal changes — particularly in the spring, summer, and fall— cause there to be a high amount of pollens and allergens in the air. Certain people develop an autoimmune response to these allergens, often resulting in ocular inflammation and dry eyes.

Wind and dryness

Dry climates tend to have high winds and little moisture in the air, which can cause the tears to evaporate quickly.

Indoor heating systems

Cold weather may lead you to spend most of your time indoors, exposed to dry heat. This can evaporate your tears, leading to inflamed, itchy eyes.

Reduced blinking when using digital devices

People tend to blink up to 66% less often when staring at a digital device. The blinks that are performed during computer work are only partial — which aren’t as effective at keeping the eyes moist. Making a conscious effort to blink more often can prevent dryness and irritation.

Contact lenses

People who wear traditional contact lenses often complain of dry eye symptoms. These symptoms can be exacerbated by improper contact lens hygiene or wearing the contacts too many hours at a time. For those with an underlying dry eye condition, specialized contact lenses may be required.

Eye infections

Eye infections, such as viral or bacterial conjunctivitis (or pink eye), can cause significant irritation, similar to that of dry eye syndrome. The symptoms will usually clear up once the infection has been treated.

Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids can improve the eye’s oil film that’s produced by small glands on the edge of the eyelid, called the meibomian glands. These fatty acids are essential for tear production and to ease stinging, irritation, and scratchy sensations that often occur with dry eyes.

If your diet is low in Omega 3, you should consider adding more fish to your diet or taking supplements as needed. Dr. Valerie Moates will be more than happy to guide you to the supplements that provide the best sourcing and bio-available Omega 3.

You don’t have to suffer from dry eyes in silence. Dr. Valerie Moates at Regional Eye Center will conduct a full assessment and develop a custom treatment plan that’s right for you.

Regional Eye Center serves patients from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, , and throughout Georgia.

 

Request A Dry Eye Exam
Do You Think You Have Dry Eye?

Dry Eye Treatments


Dry eye syndrome (DES or dry eye) is a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. Its consequences range from minor irritation to the inability to wear contact lenses and an increased risk of corneal inflammation and eye infections.

Home »

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye

Persistent dryness, scratchiness, and a burning sensation on your eyes are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome. These symptoms alone may be enough for your eye doctor to diagnose dry eye syndrome. Sometimes, he or she may want to measure the number of tears in your eyes. A thin strip of filter paper placed at the edge of the eye, called a Schirmer test, is one way of measuring this.

Some people with dry eyes also experience a "foreign body sensation” – the feeling that something is in the eye. And it may seem odd, but sometimes dry eye syndrome can cause watery eyes because the excessive dryness works to overstimulate the production of the watery component of your eye's tears.

blond-woman-thinking-640-427x427
woman-suffering-from-cvs-640-428x427

What Causes Dry Eyes?

In dry eye syndrome, the tear glands that moisturize the eye don't produce enough tears, or the tears have a chemical composition that causes them to evaporate too quickly.

Dry eye syndrome has several causes. It occurs:

  • As a part of the natural aging process, especially among women over age 40.
  • As a side effect of many medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson's medications, and birth control pills.
  • Because you live in a dry, dusty, or windy climate with low humidity.

If your home or office has air conditioning or a dry heating system, that too can dry out your eyes. Another cause is insufficient blinking, such as when you're staring at a computer screen all day.

Dry eyes are also associated with certain systemic diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea, or Sjogren's Syndrome (a triad of dry eyes, dry mouth, and rheumatoid arthritis or lupus).

Long-term contact lens wear, incomplete closure of the eyelids, eyelid disease, and a deficiency of the tear-producing glands are other causes.

Dry eye syndrome is more common in women, possibly due to hormone fluctuations. Recent research suggests that smoking, too, can increase your risk of dry eye syndrome. Dry eye has also been associated with incomplete lid closure following blepharoplasty – a popular cosmetic surgery to eliminate droopy eyelids.

Treatment for Dry Eye

Dry eye syndrome is an ongoing condition that treatments may be unable to cure. But the symptoms of dry eye – including dryness, scratchiness and burning – can usually be successfully managed.

Your eyecare practitioner may recommend artificial tears, which are lubricating eye drops that may alleviate the dry, scratchy feeling and foreign body sensation of dry eye. Prescription eye drops for dry eye go one step further: they help increase your tear production. In some cases, your doctor may also prescribe a steroid for more immediate short-term relief.

Another option for dry eye treatment involves a tiny insert filled with a lubricating ingredient. The insert is placed just inside the lower eyelid, where it continuously releases lubrication throughout the day.

If you wear contact lenses, be aware that many artificial tears cannot be used during contact lens wear. You may need to remove your lenses before using the drops. Wait 15 minutes or longer (check the label) before reinserting them. For mild dry eye, contact lens rewetting drops may be sufficient to make your eyes feel better, but the effect is usually only temporary. Switching to another lens brand could also help.

Check the label, but better yet, check with your doctor before buying any over-the-counter eye drops. Your eye doctor will know which formulas are effective and long-lasting and which are not, as well as which eye drops will work with your contact lenses.

To reduce the effects of sun, wind, and dust on dry eyes, wear sunglasses when outdoors. Wraparound styles offer the best protection.

Indoors, an air cleaner can filter out dust and other particles from the air, while a humidifier adds moisture to air that's too dry because of air conditioning or heating.

For more significant cases of dry eye, your eye doctor may recommend punctal plugs. These tiny devices are inserted in ducts in your lids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes, thereby keeping your eyes moister.

If your dry eye is caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), your doctor may recommend warm compresses and suggest an in-office procedure to clear the blocked glands and restore normal function.

Doctors sometimes also recommend special nutritional supplements containing certain essential fatty acids to decrease dry eye symptoms. Drinking more water may also offer some relief.

If medications are the cause of dry eyes, discontinuing the drug generally resolves the problem. But in this case, the benefits of the drug must be weighed against the side effect of dry eyes. Sometimes switching to a different type of medication alleviates the dry eye symptoms while keeping the needed treatment. In any case, never switch or discontinue your medications without consulting with your doctor first.

Treating any underlying eyelid disease, such as blepharitis, helps as well. This may call for antibiotic or steroid drops, plus frequent eyelid scrubs with an antibacterial shampoo.

If you are considering LASIK, be aware that dry eyes may disqualify you for the surgery, at least until your dry eye condition is successfully treated. Dry eyes increase your risk for poor healing after LASIK, so most surgeons will want to treat the dry eyes first, to ensure a good LASIK outcome. This goes for other types of vision correction surgery, as well.