Do you have dry eyes? Up to 12 million Americans suffer from a disease called dry eye syndrome. One of the most common eye conditions in the country, dry eye symptoms can range from annoying to debilitating. Dry eye syndrome is not widely known despite how common it is. Knowing your symptoms can the frequency of your symptoms can help the doctors here at Family Eye Physicians make a proper diagnosis.
What Causes Dry Eye?
Your eyes normally make small amounts of tears all day long. Tears play several important roles in keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear. Tears lubricate the eye’s surface, wash away debris, provide a smooth surface to help keep your vision clear, and also contain natural antibiotics that keep your eyes safe from germs that might cause infections.
For the tear film to do its job, all three layers have to be in their proper places in the correct amounts, like a recipe. If any layer is missing or abnormal, which can happen for a number of reasons, the tear film becomes disorganized and no longer soothes the eye like it should. When that happens, the symptoms of dry eye syndrome occur. The front surface of the eye gets dried out and gets inflamed. Once it gets inflamed, the eye ignores the proper tear film recipe and starts making large quantities of the aqueous (or water) layer in an effort to soothe itself. These bad quality tears don’t soothe the eye at all! They just run down your face, washing away the mucin and lipid layers as well. This makes the eye even more irritated, so it makes even more bad tears, and the cycle continues.
Dry Eye Symptoms
People with dry eyes frequently experience burning and stinging of their eyes, their eyes often feel sticky, and their eyes are often red. Some people with dry eyes also have periods when their eyes get so watery that tears spill over their eyelids and run down their cheeks.
Dry Eye Treatments
For some people, the stinging and burning and redness and watering may seem like little more than a nuisance, but in fact, if left untreated, dry eye syndrome can lead to serious eye problems, including blindness. Dry eyes are inflamed eyes. Inflammation of the front surface of the eye increases the risk of some infections, and can also lead to scarring. Once scarring occurs, permanent loss of sight can occur. If you have symptoms of dry eye syndrome, ask your doctor for a dry eye evaluation. Treatments are available to halt the disease and save your sight. Here at Family Eye Physicians, we offer dry eye treatments like medicated eye drops that can help you produce more of your own tears, massage and heat therapy to improve oil production, and supplement regimens that can help improve oil production.
The aim of dry eye treatments is to soothe the eyes and help them produce better quality tears. Treatments like over-the-counter eye drops are helpful in managing symptoms as needed, but in order to achieve long-term relief, you will need a more comprehensive treatment. Here at Family Eye Physicians, we understand that dry eye syndrome is an irritating condition and try our best to treat the root cause when possible. This leads to better success and less need for eye drops!
If you are suffering from dry eye syndrome and you’d like to find some relief, contact Family Eye Physicians here in Chicago!