Q: How do I know if I have Dry Eye?
A: Dry eye syndrome can only be diagnosed by an eye doctor. We take your symptoms into account, including the eyes feeling dry, burning, itchy or irritated. Watery eyes and blurry vision are also common because the tears, which protect the outermost surface of the eye, can be unstable.
Q: How do you treat Dry Eyes?
A: Dry eyes are one of the most common problems people have with their eyes. That's why when you go to the pharmacy you see hundreds of different kinds of eye drops. However, many of these drops do not solve the problem; they just cover the symptoms and this could cause major problems down the road. The worst drops to use are the whitening drops like Visine. The active ingredient constricts blood vessels to reduce redness, but it does not get to the root of the problem, which is causing the dry eye. For proper dry eye treatment, you need to have your eyes looked at by an eye care professional and they will develop a program for you to address the problem properly. Early symptoms include a dry, scratchy feeling, a foreign body sensation, or grittiness. These symptoms can get worse towards the end of the day and are exacerbated by wearing contact lenses. People blame their contact lenses, but it's really caused by an underlying dry eye issue. You can use artificial tears or prescription drops. However, they must be used so often throughout the day, that patients have a hard time complying with the treatment regimen, so we often recommend punctal plugs. These small collagen plugs are placed into the tear duct to slow down the outflow of tears. They keep your natural tear film at a higher level, allowing your eyes to be hydrated like they're supposed to be. We re-evaluate every 6 months and this has saved a lot of my contact lens patients from dropping out of contact lenses completely.
Q: What can I do to prevent dry eyes?
A: Dry eyes are caused by many factors. If you know you have dry eyes, try to pay attention to what makes them feel better or worse. For example, do not blow your hair dryer directly towards your eyes. Add moisture to the air with a humidifier. Use eye protection outdoors like wrap around sunglasses or other protective eyewear. Be mindful of changes in your environment such as traveling. Position your computer screen below eye level. Stop smoking and avoid smoky areas. Supplement with Omega 3 and use lubricating eye drops.