Dry Eyes

For many people, dry eye is temporary or situational, meaning they only last for a short period of time or when they are in certain environments. However, dry eye can also be chronic, requiring treatment to allow you to feel relief.

If dryness is irritating your eyes, treatment can help immensely. There are several treatment methods available, ranging from artificial tears and in-office procedures to light therapy. 

There’s no reason to delay feeling better. Keep reading to learn six things that mean it’s time for dry eye treatment!

What Is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a very common eye condition. When you have dry eyes, your eyes lack adequate lubrication. 

Your eyes get moisture from tears. In a healthy eye, a coating of tears provides a smooth surface, which helps focus light, protect your eyes from irritants, and keeps your eyes comfortable. 

A lack of adequate lubrication can happen for a couple of reasons. The first is that tears are chemically unbalanced. 

For a tear to be high-quality, it must have three components: oil, water, and mucous. If there is an issue with any of these elements, the tear cannot fulfill its role. 

This can result from a condition called meibomian gland dysfunction or inflammation of glands located along the eyelids. The other reason dry eye develops is because the body does not produce enough tears. 

Tears are made by glands located around the eye. In most cases of low tear production, the lacrimal gland becomes inflamed and cannot function properly. 

Sometimes dry eye results from taking certain medications. It can also be caused by fluctuating hormone levels, such as during pregnancy. 

Treating dry eye is essential. Without the appropriate treatment, it can lead to lasting damage, including corneal abrasions, scarring, infections, and vision loss. 

How Do You Know When It’s Time for Dry Eye Treatment?

Here are six signs it may be time for dry eye treatment:

1. Your Eyes Are Irritated

Dryness can cause a few different types of irritation. You may feel a stinging or burning sensation. 

You may also experience a sandy or gritty feeling as if there is something stuck in your eye. Eye irritation is not only uncomfortable, but it can also be distracting. 

You may find it hard to focus on tasks when your eyes are bothering you. 

By restoring moisture to your eyes, dry eye treatment can allow you to live free of irritation. 

2. Your Vision is Blurry

Blurry vision can be the result of a simple refractive error, like nearsightedness or farsightedness, but it can also result from dry eye. A dry eye can blur your entire visual field. 

This is because in order for your cornea to bend and focus light appropriately, it must be properly lubricated. With this ability compromised, many dry eye patients experience blurry vision. 

Treatment can return clarity to your vision. 

3. Your Eyes Are Red

Redness is one physical manifestation of eye irritation. This happens when the vessels in your eye become swollen and inflamed.

Eye redness can affect your confidence in interacting with others, as your eyes appear bloodshot. By treating the cause of this irritation, this redness will go away. 

4. Your Eyes Are Sensitive to Light 

Does it feel like light hurts your eyes? If you find yourself having to squint around bright lights or look away from them completely, you should consider treating your dry eye. 

A healthy eye scatters light, but dry eye can affect this ability, resulting in light sensitivity. 

5. You’re Experiencing Excessive Tearing

Many patients are surprised to learn that watery eyes are a symptom of dryness. In an attempt to restore the right level of moisture, your eyes can produce too much. 

This overproduction leads to watery eyes. In turn, this can cause your vision to blur even more. 

Once healthy tear production is reinstated, you won’t have to deal with wateriness anymore. 

6. You’re Having Difficulty Wearing Contact Lenses

If you’re finding that you can no longer wear contact lenses comfortably, it may be because of dry eye. Although they are thin, contact lenses reduce the flow of oxygen that enters your eye. 

This affects your eye’s ability to produce tears. If dryness is already bothering you, this can make symptoms even worse. 

You don’t have to go back to wearing glasses, though. Treatment can allow you to wear contact lenses comfortably again!

How Is Dry Eye Treated?

There are several effective methods of treating dry eye. At Jacksonville Eye Center, our eye doctors can evaluate your eyes, determine the cause of your symptoms, and recommend a particular treatment option for you. 

If your symptoms are mild, artificial tears are often recommended. These can add moisture back into your eyes. 

However, relief is only temporary, and you will have to apply more eye drops when symptoms return. Punctal occlusion is a more long-term solution. 

This in-office procedure blocks tears from draining out of your eye. That way, tears can remain in your eyes. 

Heat has been shown to improve the tear film. In one alternative therapy, a device called the MiBoFlo Thermoflo® is used to apply heat to the meibomian glands. 

This stimulates tear production and stops tears from evaporating too quickly. Red light therapy is another kind of alternative therapy. It also aids in the functioning of the meibomian glands. 

It is a great option for patients with meibomian gland dysfunction. 

Is it time to find relief for your dry eyes? Schedule an appointment at Jacksonville Eye Center in Jacksonville, FL, today!