Dry eyes are very common – more than 16 million people in the United States are affected by dry eye syndrome.1 Just because it is a common problem, doesn’t mean you have to live with the discomfort of dry eyes. If dry eye symptoms are preventing you from enjoying common activities, we can help; the dry eye specialists at CVP Physicians Dayton are highly experienced in diagnosing and treating chronic dry eyes.
Dry Eye Symptoms
Dry eye symptoms can range from mild irritation to chronic issues that interfere with day-to-day life. Symptoms, which vary and may occur in one or both eyes, include:
- Irritated or red eyes
- Excessive tearing/watery eyes
- Sore or sensitive eyes
- A gritty or pasty feeling in the eyelids
- Crusty or goopy eyes
- Blurry vision
Dry Eye Causes
Dry eye syndrome can occur at any age, and in people who are otherwise healthy. However, certain factors may contribute to chronic dry eyes:
- Age: Dry eye syndrome is more common with older age, especially for women after menopause.
- Medical Conditions: People with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid problems, Sjögren’s syndrome, or lupus may be more susceptible to dry eyes.
- Eye Conditions: Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, which is a disorder of oil glands in eyelids, or Blepharitis can be the underlying cause of dry eye disease.
- Medications: Certain anti-anxiety medications, incontinence medications, chemotherapy medications, diuretics, beta-blockers, allergy and cold medicines, sleeping pills, and heartburn medicine may cause dry eyes.
- Environment: A dry, windy climate or being near smoke can induce dry eyes.
- Lifestyle: Spending several hours each day looking at a computer screen can cause dry eye symptoms, as can smoking and long-term contact lens use.
How is Dry Eye Syndrome Diagnosed?
If your eyes often feel dry or irritated, the ophthalmologists at CVP Physicians Dayton can perform specific diagnostic tests to assess the quantity and quality of your tears. These tests are non-invasive and typically cause no discomfort. Figuring out the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms can help us create the best dry eye treatment plan for you. Dry eye diagnostic tools include:
- Schirmer Test: quantifies the rate of tear production
- Corneal Staining: assesses the quality of tears and condition of the front of your eye (ocular surface)
- Tear Break-up: determines the stability of tear film
- External Examination: visual assessment of the eye, including lid structure and blink dynamics
- Magnification: Evaluation of the eyelids and cornea using bright light and magnification
- Laboratory Tests: used in severe cases to determine underlying medical conditions
Treatment Options for Dry Eye Relief
The eye doctors at CVP Physicians Dayton specialize in a full range of dry eye treatments that have been clinically proven to reduce the discomfort of dry eye symptoms. Our dry eye treatment plans are customized for each patient to provide relief from immediate symptoms while also caring for your long-term eye health and vision.
Over-the-counter Eye Drops for Dry Eyes – Artificial Tears and Lubricants
Artificial tears, gels, and ointments are often the first step toward dry eye relief. Eye drops available at your local pharmacy come in a variety of formulas, either over-the-counter or by prescription. Your eye doctor can recommend the best options for you.
Prescription Eye Drops for Dry Eyes – Anti-Inflammatory Medications and Steroid Eye Drops
Prescription eye drops, such as RESTASIS® and Xiidra®, lubricate the eye’s surface while also reducing inflammation. They can help your body produce natural tears to keep your eyes healthy, moist and comfortable. Prescription eye drops made with corticosteroids may be used to treat irritation, pain, and redness of chronic dry eyes. These steroid eye drops are often used in conjunction with artificial tears or Restasis/Xiidra to help relieve severe short-term issues before longer term approaches can be pursued.
Nutritional Supplements for Dry Eyes
A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in nuts and fish, and vitamin A, which is found in carrots and broccoli, can support healthy eyes. Oral supplements of Omega-3 fatty acids may be recommended to improve the quality of tears and calm inflammation on the eyelids.
Lifestyle Modifications to Prevent Dry Eyes
There are several steps you can take on your own to prevent or ease dry eye symptoms:
- Drink enough water to stay hydrated
- Use a humidifier if the air in your home is dry
- Wear protective eyewear in windy or sunny conditions
- Reduce the amount of time you wear contact lenses
- Do not smoke
- If you work on a computer, take frequent quick breaks to blink and rest your eyes
Procedures to Treat Dry Eyes
If eye drops and lifestyle changes do not give you the relief you need, we offer dry eye procedures.
- Tear Duct Plugs: Also called punctal plugs, these small devices are inserted into the inner corners of your eyelids to prevent existing tears from leaving the eyes as quickly.
- Serum Tears: For severe cases of dry eye syndrome, a serum from your own blood is combined with artificial tears to produce serum tears that can counteract the autoimmune factors that cause dry eyes.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dry Eyes
Is there a cure for Dry Eye Disease?
No, although there is no cure for dry eye, the eye doctors at CVP Physicians Dayton have the expertise to treat dry eye and are passionate about finding ways to manage your dry eye symptoms.
Why was I diagnosed with dry eyes if my problem is watery eyes?
It can seem counterintuitive that watery eyes are a symptom of dry eye syndrome, but excessive tearing or watery eyes are often a sign that your body is overcompensating for the dryness or reacting to the irritation of dry eyes.
Is dry eye syndrome a serious problem?
The severity of dry eyes can vary greatly, but if left untreated, dry eyes can lead to serious vision issues. Chronic dry eyes can result in eye infections, corneal abrasions, and loss of vision.2
How do I know which dry eye treatment is right for me?
At CVP Physicians Dayton, we will take the time to assess your eyes, discuss your symptoms, and explain your treatment options in order to create a personalized dry eye care plan. Treating dry eye symptoms sooner rather than later can improve your eye health and protect your eyes from damage. Contact us today to get started.
Contact CVP Physicians Dayton for Dry Eye Treatment
The dry eye specialists at our Dayton, Springboro, and greater Ohio eye care practices are dedicated to improving quality of life for our patients by offering personalized care and the most advanced dry eye treatment options. Contact us today with any questions or to schedule an appointment.
1 Farrand KF, Fridman M, Stillman IÖ, Schaumberg DA. Prevalence of Diagnosed Dry Eye Disease in the United States Among Adults Aged 18 Years and Older. Am J Ophthalmol. 2017;182:90‐98. doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2017.06.033
2 Mayo Clinic. Dry Eyes. Available https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371863 Accessed May 26, 2020.