Q: When should a person come in to see their optometrist for Dry Eye symptoms and when is it enough to take care of this problem yourself?
If you have ever experienced sandy, gritty eyes, or itchy, burning sensations, they likely are not allergies but could really be early manifestations of Dry Eye. Computer users or anyone experiencing fluctuating vision throughout the day which may seem to get better after we push on our eyelids are actually strong tell-tale signs of Dry Eye Syndrome. Frequently we may reach for those over the counter lubricants but they may hardly give any sustainable relief.
Q: What is the examination like to determine whether someone is suffering from Dry Eyes?
We will conduct a thorough evaluation of the lids, lashes, cornea, the white part of the eye known as the conjunctiva and other parts of the lacrimal system or tear producing glands. We will utilize special colored filter paper that highlights areas of the eye that leave dry spots or show high evaporation rates . We will be able to photodocument and show the before and after photos of these sensitive areas during the management and treatment phase. Frothy soap-like deposits on our lids, red, inflammed lids, debris or dandruff like substances on our lashes are all signs of dysfunctional glands. An expression from the glands thats thickened like toothpaste as opposed to clear olive oil like expression are further signs of chronic dry eye condition.
Q: I have a friend in whose eyes are frequently overly watery. That isn't Dry Eye, is it?
Actually it likely is. Our body in it’s infinite wisdom realizes when things our out of balance and it will try to compensate for this by sending a signal to the tear producing glands to aid in the dryness. Unfortunately it isnt the right amount or consistency and we tend to water frequently.
Q: What are the typical treatments used to help people suffering from Dry Eyes?
Treatment options include anti-inflammatory drops or oral medications . Other prescription drops that are frequently advertised on TV, which affect other receptors or sites of the lacrimal system. Plugs that are placed in the openings of our drainage canal can help with evaporation. The benefits of certain fish oil have long been researched and shown to be of benefit to many sufferers of Dry eye syndrome.
Q: Are some people more prone to having Dry Eyes than others?
The list of causes of Dry Eye is actually quite extensive. Women, especially of menopausal age, or taking medications including anti-depressants,anti-hypertensives, birth control pills. Medical history of thyroid disorder, collagen vascular disease. Environmental conditions like forced hot air, computer or any digital device users. Smokers or smoked filled rooms are all contributory factors to Dry Eye conditions.
Q: Do you have any recommendations for people to help them avoid Dry Eye issues?
A well-balanced diet of good quality fish like salmon and sardines, green leafy vegetables like spinach or kale. Other foods rich in antioxidants like berries, mango or almonds can help the immune system.
Good rest, no digital device use at least one hour prior to bedtime and increasing our cardiovascular efforts can help reduce inflammation and improve our immune system. This in turn is good for our bodies and our eyes are part of our body.