Dry eye is a complex, progressive disease that results from chronic damage to the parts of the eye that produce and support tears. The tears are responsible for providing protection, comfort, vision and maintenance for the eye surface. Typically, there is more than one initiating factor contributing to dryness of the eye. For more information on Dry Eye Disease, check out this “Dry Eye for Dummies” break down.
Yes. Each person’s tolerance to discomfort is different and their body’s compensation to changes on the eye can help mask symptoms. For instance, watery eyes are a common misunderstood sign of dryness. Though it seems contradictory, excess water in the eyes is the body’s way of treating a drier eye.
The sensation of sandiness or grittiness in the eyes is common and a sign of dryness. This feeling is due to dry spots on the cornea due to evaporation of the tears. During a blink the eyelids swipe over those dry spots creating the sensation of a dry windshield wiper, and leading to the feeling of something in the eye. When the eyes are adequately lubricated, this sensation is avoided.
The symptoms can vary, both in frequency and severity. Patients can experience these symptoms constantly, off-and-on, or not at all. Common symptoms include:
- Burning eyes
- Blurred vision
- Watery eyes
- Aching or sore eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Tired eyes
- Grittiness or sandiness in the eyes
- Contact lens discomfort
- Heavy or sticky feeling in the eyes
If you are experience any form of discomfort, you should visit Eye Comfort Specialists for an evaluation. By the time you are feeling any symptoms, you are likely in phases of mild to moderate dry eye disease. Take this survey to see if your symptoms are in line with dryness: Take a survey to find out if your symptoms apply.
Take this survey to see if your symptoms are related to dryness: Dry Eye Symptoms Survey
- “Get the Red Out” drops like Visine or Rohto. These medicated drops do not address the underlying symptom of dryness. Rather, drops like Visine work by constricting the blood vessels in the eyes (thus making the eyes appear less red). This action results in a rebound effect of redness and further dries out the surface of the eyes.
- Taking an oral antihistamine for itchy eyes during allergy season. Oral antihistamines can cause increased tear evaporation by changing the tear film composition, such as mucusproducing cells. Switching to an allergy eye drop will treat your allergy symptoms without drying out the eyes.
- Poorly cleaning contact lenses. Poor lens hygiene includes: not replacing the solution nightly, not cleaning the case, and using cleaning solution that is not compatible with your particular contact lens material. Contact lenses are a reservoir for harboring bacteria on the eye if your lenses are poorly cleaned, the lenses will likely cause more irritation.
- Extending contact lens wear past advised replacement schedule. Contact lenses go through rigorous testing before passing the guidelines provided by the FDA. Studies show that wearing contacts past their advised wearing schedule decreases the oxygen permeability of contact lenses.
- Extensive computer use.
- Poor hydration.
Typically the dry eye assessment takes about an hour and is performed separately from the initial comprehensive eye examination. There is no dilation and you won’t have any restrictions. Treatment may also be initiated at the dry eye assessment visit or scheduled at a subsequent visit. Please call our office, 206-215-2020, or email us directly at CEC@eanw.net for more details or to schedule an appointment.
The eye comfort analysis is a medically related expense and can be billed any accepted medical insurance. Many of the treatment options are typically covered, but LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation and BlephEx Lid Treatment are not covered. FSA and HSA spending accounts can be applied to these treatments. Please call our office, 206-215-2020, or email us directly at CEC@eanw.net for more details or to schedule an appointment.
Dry eye is a chronic, progressive disease that affects the surface of the eye. Without treatments, the symptoms may ebb and flow, but there is likely progressive damage occurring to the front surface of your eye. If left untreated, dry eyes can become dangerous. Excessive dryness can scar the cornea, impairing vision and damaging the tissues. Significant dryness can lead to greater chance of infection, breakdown of the corneal barriers and perforation of the cornea.