Dry eye is one of the most common ocular issues plaguing millions of people today. As common as it is, it still goes undiagnosed in most people. Those who suffer from constantly irritated, scratchy eyes often struggle to communicate with others about what they’re going through. Most of them don’t know what they’re actually dealing with or what their options are. Instead of seeking help, they are reduced to going through life with mild irritation all the way to clawing their eyes to find a moment of relief.
This July, we want to bring dry eye to the forefront of people’s minds and bring awareness to this potentially debilitating condition. More importantly, we want to empower those who are suffering from dry eye and highlight solutions so they may find relief.
What is Dry Eye?
We all get dry eyes occasionally, but more and more people are noticing that their eyes are dry constantly. At ophthalmologists’ offices across the nation, this issue is more commonly seen today than ever before. Most experts agree increased exposure to screens – smartphones, computers or video games – is likely to blame for the marked increase in dry eye symptoms. For work and play, people are more plugged in than ever before. However, there are many causes of this pesky disease.
Doctors hear dry eye expressed as painful, persistent, and irritating, but what actually is dry eye? There are two main contributing factors. One is inadequate tear production or the inability to produce the number of tears needed to properly protect and comfort the eye.
The other underlying cause is unhealthy tear production where the tears aren’t balanced and are unable to function correctly. Healthy tears are made up of three unique, precisely balanced layers. The mucin layer adheres tears to the eyes. The aqueous layer nourishes and protects the cornea, and the lipid layer lubricates and prevents evaporation.
Furthermore, tears are meant to protect, comfort, wash and lubricate your eyes. If one of these layers is off, your tears will not perform as well as they should. The most common cause of chronic dry eye is an issue with the oily lipid layer of the tear. Because the oil in your tears develops in the meibomian gland, this condition is known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) or evaporative dry eye.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
You now know what dry eye is, but how do you know if you have it? The symptoms and the intensity of those symptoms can vary from patient to patient. A few more common symptoms include:
- Burning sensation
- Itchy eyes
- Aching sensations
- Fatigued eyes
- Sore eyes
- Red eyes
- Photophobia (light sensitivity)
- Blurred vision
- Foreign body sensation (feeling like there is something in your eye)
- Watery eyes (weird, but true)
What Can I Do For Dry Eye?
Currently, doctors are able to tackle the symptoms in order to provide relief. The National Eye Institute (NEI) is pioneering the advance of dry eye research by searching for long-term solutions and understanding more about the underlying causes. At Center For Sight, we pride ourselves in providing the best possible care for our patients, and that includes staying on the cutting-edge of dry eye technology, treatments and information.
Center for Sight offers many different treatment options depending on what your symptoms are and to what degree you’re experiencing discomfort. Our advanced dry eye care center is dedicated to coming up with the right solution for each individual. Find comfort with LipiFlow or our many other treatment options! We are excited to offer the newest technological innovations to battle this disease.
If you, or someone you know, are experiencing symptoms, start with our dry eye quiz. Don’t be part of the large percentage of people that go undiagnosed. Find relief today!