What is Dry Eye and How to Treat It

Dry eye occurs when your eyes are not able to produce enough tears to remain wet or when your tear ducts do not function properly. This may lead to discomfort and possibly result in vision problems. This issue is prevalent affecting around 16 million Americans annually.

Factors that cause dry eye

People producing less tears are typically faced with hormonal imbalances. Although, both genders can attain dry eye, it is usually found in women, and most commonly those who have gone through menopause. The main causes of dry eye include:

  • Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sj√∂grens syndrome, lupus, and thyroid disease
  • Blepharitis- when your eyelids are red or swollen
  • Looking at a screen for a long period of time 
  • Wearing contacts for awhile
  • Recently having LASIK performed
  • Taking sleeping pills, heartburn medicines, and antidepressant medicines

Symptoms of dry eye

People with dry eyes are prone to the following symptoms:

  • Redness
  • Scratching or burning eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Struggling with nighttime driving
  • Mucus in or around the eye
  • Watery eyes

How to treat it

The type of treatment you may be eligible for depends on what is causing your symptoms. There are several treatments that can potentially improve your dry eye symptoms to maintain healthy vision including:

  • Over the counter eye drops. This form of treatment is known as artificial tears most commonly used for minor cases. Other alternatives include moisturizing gels and ointments.
  • Prescription medicine. If you have a serious case of dry eye your doctor may recommend medicines called cyclosporine (Restasis) or lifitegrast (Xiidrra).
  • Life adjustments. If something in your daily routine is worsening your dry eye your doctor may suggest cutting that out. For instance, if you are taking a medicine for your heart and it is leading to dry eye then you may have to try another medicine. To make life changes that will improve your eye health you should:
  • Avoid smoke
  • Use a humidifier
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule in screen activity
  • Wear protective sunglasses
  • Have 8-10 glasses of water a day
  • Sleep 8 hours
  • Tear duct plugs. Your doctor may suggest wearing punctal plugs in your tear ducts to lubricate your eyes.
  • Surgery. If your lower eye lids are too loose this could lead to tears draining rapidly out of eye. As a result, your doctor may recommend getting surgery.

If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms, Contact our office and request an appointment at one of our locations. Call 516-785-3900 (Wantagh office) or 516-541-4141 (Massapequa office) to schedule an appointment.