Discover the Causes of Dry Eye and Treatment Options Available at our New Orleans Eye Care Centers
Dry eye disease, particularly common among older adults, is a condition in which a person’s tears are either insufficient and unable to nourish the eyes properly or are too reduced in quantity to lubricate the eyes.
Tears are necessary for clear vision and to maintain the health of your eyes. With each blink, tears spread across the surface of the eye (cornea), providing lubrication, lowering the risk for eye infection, rinsing away foreign substances, and keeping the cornea smooth and clear.
People with dry eye disease might experience a scratchy or burning feeling in the eyes, a feeling that something is in their eyes, excessive watering of the eyes, blurred vision, or irritation. Advanced dry eye disease can damage your cornea, resulting in impaired vision.
But how can you be sure your discomfort isn’t the result of allergies or other eye injury? Our New Orleans eye doctors specialize in diagnosing, treating, and managing various types of dry eye and provide science-based health products to enhance your overall nutrition and relieve your dry eye discomfort.
What Causes Dry Eye?
Tears have three components – water, oil, and mucus – each of which plays a part in protecting and nourishing the front of your eye. The layer of oil prevents evaporation of the water layer, and the mucus layer helps the tears spread evenly. If any component is deficient, dry eye can result. When production of tears falls or tears evaporate too rapidly, dry eye disease can occur.
Production of tears tends to decrease with age, with the presence of certain medical conditions, or as a side effect of various medications. Excess tears flow into small drainage ducts at the inner corners of the eyelids and drain into the back of the nose. When tear production and the drainage of excess tears are not in balance, dry eye disease can occur.
Dry eye can also be the result of environmental conditions such as wind, smoke, and dry climates, which can increase tear evaporation. Gazing at a computer screen for extended periods of time can also lead to dry eye disease, as can the long-term use of contact lenses and refractive eye surgeries like LASIK.
Treatment Options in New Orleans for Dry Eye Disease
Dry eye treatments are intended to restore or maintain the normal level of tears in the eyes to reduce dryness and maintain eye health. Common treatments for dry eye disease include:
- Artificial tears. Minor dry eye can sometimes be managed through the use of over-the-counter artificial tear solutions that complement the production of natural tears.
- Keeping tears in the eyes longer. Blocking the tear ducts through which excess tears drain can reduce the symptoms of dry eye disease. The tear ducts can be obstructed with removable plugs, or surgery can close them permanently.
- Increasing tear production. Prescription eye drops can help boost tear production, as can taking an omega-3 fatty acid nutritional supplement.
- Treating inflammation. Prescription eye drops or ointments, warm compresses, massaging the eyelids, or eyelid cleaners can all help decrease inflammation around the eyes.
Are you experiencing symptoms that may be related to dry eye disease? Schedule an appointment at one of our eye care centers to receive a comprehensive eye exam and find relief from dry eye discomfort.