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Dry Eyes

State-of-the-Art Eye Care for Dry Eye Symptoms

Millions of people have dry eye, a chronic condition that becomes more common as we get older. In fact, the American Academy of Ophthalmology says about 3.2 million women age 50 years and older have dry eye symptoms, along with about 1.7 million men of the same age group.

Woman with dry eye using eye drops.

Dry eyes occur when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or don’t distribute tears effectively across the surface of your eyes, or when the tears your eyes produce are of poor quality, which causes them to evaporate too quickly. What’s more, dry eyes are more than just annoying. Without proper and ongoing eye care treatment, dry eyes also make you more prone to eye infections and corneal damage, especially if you wear contact lenses.

Fortunately, at Villa Optometry our doctors are skilled in diagnosing dry eye and in helping patients get the eye care and products they need to manage their condition. Here’s what you should know about this common eye condition.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

Dry eyes (sometimes called dry eye syndrome) occur more commonly with age as our bodies produce less natural fluids that make up the tear fluid. But age isn’t the only factor contributing to dry eyes and their symptoms. Other causes include:

  • Thyroid disease, Parkinson’s disease and some autoimmune diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Eyelid abnormalities, including lids that turn in (entropion) and out (ectropion)
  • Hormonal changes, including changes associated with menopause (which is a likely reason why more women than men have dry eyes)
  • Long-term use of some types of medications, including some blood pressure medicines and allergy medicines
  • Exposure to smoke and fumes or dry environments
  • Prolonged use of electronics including cell phones, tablets, and laptops that cause long periods of staring without blinking
  • Other types of “close-up” work that requires intense focus

Dry Eye Symptoms

Dry eyes cause an array of symptoms, including:

  • eyes that itch, feel gritty or have burning sensations
  • feeling like something is poking you in the eye (called a foreign body sensation)
  • blurry vision
  • excessive tearing
  • sensitivity to bright lights
  • eyes that look red
  • eye fatigue, especially when reading, using a computer or doing other close-up work

Many people with dry eyes find their symptoms become worse throughout the day, and symptoms can also become worse when treatment is delayed. Since having dry eyes increases your risk for eye infections, it's very important to have an eye exam at the first sign of symptoms so your dry eyes can be treated.

Dry Eye Treatment: See Your Eye Doctor

Treating dry eyes begins with a visit to your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. During the exam, your optometrist doctor will examine your tear film and assess how well your eyes produce and distribute your tears. The doctor will use a special paper to help identify deficiencies, and sometimes, they may place a special dye in your eye to temporarily stain your tears so they can see how well the tears spread across the eye surface. Plus, the eye doctor will use a special lamp to carefully evaluate your corneas to ensure they're healthy.

If your eye exam confirms that you have dry eyes, your optometrist will probably prescribe special eye drops to help lubricate your eyes or provide other treatments to relieve your symptoms and improve your eye's lubrication. 

Contact Our Top Optometrist near Chula Vista Today!

Seeing an optometrist near Chula Vista is the first step in finding out if you have dry eyes or if your symptoms might be caused by another underlying issue. As a top-ranked optometry practice, Villa Optometry can help you get the most appropriate care based on your specific needs. Contact Villa Optometry at (619) 482-2020 and schedule an office visit today.