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Millions of men and women in the U.S. suffer from dry eye, an uncomfortable condition that causes symptoms like redness, irritation, itching and burning sensations, often accompanied by a “sandy” feeling in the eyes or a foreign body sensation - the feeling that an object is poking or sticking in the eye. Many people with dry eyes also experience excessive tearing and blurry vision. Without proper treatment, dry eyes can expose the clear corneas to scratches and other damage. If you live in Arcadia, Wauchula, Lake Placid or Sebring, here’s what you should know about dry eye diagnosis and available treatments that can help you find relief.
Dry eyes can be caused by many different factors, and having an eye exam is the first step toward determining the underlying cause so treatment can be as effective as possible. During the exam, the corneas and tear-producing glands will be examined along with other structures of the eye, and a special dye can be applied to the cornea to look for tiny scratches and other signs of damage.
Often, dry eye symptoms can be caused by eye allergies triggered by dust, pollen, smoke or other airborne particles. When these particles come in contact with the eye, they cause irritation and redness, as well as symptoms like burning or itching sensations. Many people with dry eyes may also experience a “foreign body sensation,” or the feeling that an object is “stuck” in the eye.
In addition to eye allergies, other issues can also contribute to dry eyes, including some underlying medical conditions, long-term use of certain medications and contact lens wear. Some patients have problems with tear production or the quality of their tears may be poor, which means the tears are unable to wash away irritants and provide soothing relief.
Effective dry eye relief depends on an accurate diagnosis of the cause of the symptoms. Once the eye exam is complete, your treatment plan will be customized for your needs. Treatment options can include special eye drops designed to moisten the eye or medications to promote tear production. Sometimes the glands that produce and disperse tears are damaged or blocked, and treatment will focus on “unblocking” the gland openings or improving their function. Other patients may benefit from special contact lenses designed for people who have dry eyes. These lenses allow oxygen to reach the surface of the eye or they may be composed of special “hydrogel” materials designed to attract and retain moisture, providing an added moisture “boost” to help prevent dry eye symptoms.
Left untreated, the irritation caused by dry eyes can result in permanent damage to the cornea. Getting treatment at the first sign of dry eyes is important for ensuring your eyes stay healthy and your vision remains as clear as possible.
Sevigny & Associates Eye Care is a leading provider of dry eye treatment for patients in Sebring, Arcadia, Lake Placid and Wauchula, Fla., offering state-of-the-art treatment customized for each patient’s unique needs. To learn more about dry eye treatment or to find out if you have dry eyes, call Sevigny & Associates Eye Care at 863-773-3322 and schedule an eye exam today.