Diagnosis and Treatment for Dry Eye
Have you been experiencing a stinging or burning sensation in your eyes? Does it feel like something is stuck in your eye? If these symptoms sound all too familiar, you may be suffering from dry eye.
Identifying the underlying cause of your dry eye is essential to finding the right treatment for your specific case. At Hanna Eye Care in Jacksonville, our eye doctors, Dr. Hanna and Dr. Purdy, specialize in diagnosing dry eye and providing personalized treatment options to relieve discomfort.
What is dry eye syndrome?
Dry eye, also known as dry eye syndrome, is a common condition where your eyes don’t make enough tears, or your tears don’t work correctly.
Tears play a vital role in maintaining healthy eyes by providing clear vision, lubrication, and protection against harmful elements. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure proper tear production and drainage for optimal eye health and vision.
Dry eye symptoms can be very similar to allergy symptoms, making it difficult to distinguish between the two. The main difference is allergies tend to cause more intense itching than dry eye. If you’re unsure what’s causing your symptoms, our eye doctor can determine the underlying cause during a comprehensive eye exam.
What can cause dry eye?
The leading cause of dry eye is meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). MGD is an inflammatory disorder of the meibomian glands in your eyelids, which secrete oils that prevent your tears from evaporating too quickly. When these glands become blocked or clogged with oil, it can lead to dry eye syndrome.
Other causes of dry eye include:
- Hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, use of oral contraceptives, and menopause
- Certain medications such as antihistamines and decongestants
- Certain diseases and conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, arthritis, diabetes, or thyroid problems
- Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids)
- Exposure to cold, smoke, and dry climates
- Activities like driving, reading, computer use, or watching TV cause you to blink less often, and blinking less can also cause dry eye.
What are the symptoms of dry eye?
The most obvious symptom of dry eye syndrome is a burning sensation in the eyes. Other symptoms include:
- Stinging or itching eyes
- A scratchy or sandy feeling in your eyes
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Eye pain or redness
- Stringy mucus or discharge from your eyes
- Fluctuating vision
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor so they can help you get relief.
How is dry eye diagnosed?
During a comprehensive eye exam at Hanna Eye Care, our experienced eye doctor will perform a series of tests to diagnose dry eye syndrome. Tests may include evaluating your tear quality, volume, evaporation rate, and chemical composition. These tests will help us identify the underlying cause of your dry eye and develop a customized treatment plan to minimize discomfort and dryness.
How is dry eye treated?
At Hanna Eye Care in Jacksonville, we know that each case of dry eye is unique. That’s why we customize treatment to each patient’s specific needs, depending on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause(s). Whether your dry eye is temporary or chronic, we will work with you to find the best solutions to maintain your optimal eye health, reduce discomfort, and prevent vision impairment.
Common treatments and prevention methods for dry eye include:
- Prescription eye drops to reduce inflammation
- Blinking exercises or proper eyelid hygiene
- Lifestyle changes such as drinking more water or taking nutritional supplements
- Wearing sunglasses when outdoors
- Using air filters and a humidifier
- Treating any underlying infections or eyelid diseases such as blepharitis
If meibomian gland dysfunction is causing your dry eye, we may suggest warm compresses or a gentle in-office procedure to clear the blocked glands and relieve dry eye symptoms.
For more severe cases where other treatments are ineffective, we may recommend punctal plugs. Punctal plugs are tiny devices that are placed in your eyelid ducts to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes, helping to keep your eyes lubricated.
Schedule an appointment at Hanna Eye Care
With proper care from an experienced professional, dry eye syndrome can be managed effectively so that you can enjoy comfortable vision. If you suffer from dry eye, we are here to help you determine the underlying cause and find lasting relief. Schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam at our office today.