Dry Eyes

Dry eye isn't a condition that can be treated with over-the-counter drops alone! Our practice offers speciality services designed specifically to address this chronic eye ailment.
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PROUDLY PROVIDING HIGH QUALITY OPTOMERTRY SERVICES TO ELKRIDGE AND BALTIMORE AREAS!

In cases of dry eye, patients lack the high-quality tears needed to lubricate and nourish their eyes. This lack of moisture can create serious problems, as the eye relies on tear production to support comfort and good health alike. People with chronic dry eye may experience irritated, gritty, scratchy or burning eyes; a feeling of something in their eyes; excess watering; and blurred vision. And advanced dry eyes may actually damage the front surface of the eye and impair vision.

At Bay Family Eye Care, we are committed to treating dry eye directly, which helps to restore or maintain the normal amount of tears. We believe that no patient should have to rely on over-the-counter eye drops to get relief from this condition. We take dry eye seriously - so schedule an appointment online or call (410) 796-4555 today to set up your visit!

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FAQs on Dry Eyes:

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a condition that occurs when the eyes cannot naturally moisturize themselves. Normally, the act of blinking throughout the day distributes tears across the surface of the eye, providing lubrication and helping to reduce our risk of infection. But when the eyes cannot produce a proper amount of moisture (i.e. tears), or when the eyes fail to make high-quality tears, our eyes feel dry and itchy. Dry eye affects comfort and health alike, particularly if it becomes chronic.

 

What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?

Dry eye can lead to a number of symptoms, including stinging; burning; itching; redness; pain; and a feeling that there is something in the eye when there is not. Despite its name, dry eye can also lead to episodes of excess tearing and discharge. Blurred vision is another possible symptom.

 

What Causes Dry Eye?

Dry eye typically occurs due to one (or a combination) of three key causes:

  • Tear production overall decreasing, usually due to blocked tear glands and ducts within the eye. 
  • Tears evaporating too quickly, leading to a decrease in moisture levels in the eye. (Environmental factors can contribute to tear evaporation, including high winds, smoky areas, and dry air.)
  • An imbalance in the composition of a patient's tears, which often contributes to higher evaporation rates. Healthy tears are a complex mixture of fatty oils, water, mucus, and more than 1500 different proteins. Should this delicate mixture be thrown off in any way, dry eye can occur.

Though not a direct cause, age is a contributing factor to dry eye, as the condition is more likely to develop due to age-related changes in the eye. Pregnancy is also known to increase the risk of dry eye, due to the hormonal changes associated with it. Additionally, some medications (including antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy to relieve symptoms of menopause, and medications for anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, and high blood pressure) have also been associated with dry eye.

 

What Can Be Done To Prevent and Treat Dry Eye?

Dry eye prevention ultimately involves lifestyle adjustments that support health, comfort, and tear production. Patients looking to prevent or manage dry eye should: 

  • limit their exposure to fans and hair dryers, and protect their eyes from strong winds and dry air.
  • rest their eyes regularly; reading, watching television, and screen use can all dry out the eyes, as we tend to blink less frequently when engrossed in these tasks.
  • avoid cigarette smoke, as this can irritate the eyes further.

Should dry eye symptoms persist, it’s important to visit an eye doctor for proper treatment, rather than rely on over-the-counter eye drops. If your case of dry eyes is mainly due to environmental factors, prescription eye drops can provide additional relief. If, upon examination, it turns out your eyes or tears themselves are the source of your discomfort, we can offer additional treatment and relief that targets the specific cause of your dry eye. Punctal plugs, for example, can be inserted into a patient's tear duct to prevent drainage and support tear production. And specialized eye drops can make up for any imbalances affecting tear quality overall.

All treatment options will be discussed thoroughly with any patient visiting Bay Family Eye Care, allowing you to take control of your vision and care.

 

 

How is Dry Eye Diagnosed?

To diagnosis dry eye, your eye doctor will begin with a comprehensive eye exam; this includes a discussion about your medical history, where patients should always mention any discomfort they are experiencing. If needed, an eye doctor can also measure tear production using a simple in-office, non-invasive test known as the Schirmer test. If needed, your eye doctor can also use special dyes and eyedrops to evaluate your eyes and teardrop evaporation further.

Ready to schedule an appointment? Our Bay Family Eye Care team is ready to meet you. Our dry eye management offerings can help our patients live more comfortably, as well as ensure their eyes are as healthy as possible. Don’t shrug off dry eye; schedule an appointment online or call (410) 796-4555 today to set up your visit!

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