You move water across your vision when you blink to wash away debris, stabilize your visual field, lubricate and protect against infection. What happens when you don’t produce enough tears though? Dry eye can become a serious problem, as damage to the cornea can occur without proper lubrication. We recommend using artificial tears as the primary treatment for dry eye. FDA-approved Restasis prescription treatment can also help you create your own tears again. In your consultation, we can find a treatment option that is right for you whether that be in the form of drops, creams, medications or nutritional changes to correct your dry eye. Our goal is to help you see as clearly as possible. Let us combat your irritation today at Optical Masters!
You don't generally need to cry each day, but creating enough tears is something that’s a must for optimal visual health. When you can't lubricate your eyes with sufficient tears, you can create damage to the cornea and eventually affect your vision over time. Maybe getting all teared up isn’t so bad after all, right? When you blink, your tears naturally move across the eye, moisturizing the entire surface and keeping it clear of debris. There are actually 3 layers of your tear film, consisting of an oily layer, a watery layer, and a mucus layer.
Oily Layer - This is the outside layer of your tears. This layer keeps the surface smooth and keeps the eye from drying up quickly. That’s why it has an oily component instead of just water.
Watery Layer - Under the oily layer of the tear is a watery layer that makes up the majority of your tears. Water will cleanse the debris from your visual field and clear out particles that shouldn’t be there. Different glands make the oily layer (meibomian gland) and the watery layer (lacrimal gland).
Mucus Layer - This is the innermost layer that helps ensure that moisture covers every surface of your eye to stay lubricated and clean. It may sound funny that your eye has mucus, but without it, the tears you need wouldn’t stick to the surface.
When you don’t produce enough tears in general, or you have a problem producing one of the tear layers (such as from a gland problem), you will end up with dryness, sometimes chronic. The American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that 5 million Americans suffer from dry eye. That number includes around 3.2 million women and 1.68 million men. Dry eye syndrome becomes more common as you age. You will experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Burning or stinging
Pain or redness and possibly even some discharge
Sandy or gritty feeling (as if you have something in your eyes)
Heavy eyelids, fatigue or feeling like your eyes are dry in general
Blurred vision (due to lack of moisture) and difficulty reading, working or performing tasks
Inability to cry or episodes of excessive tears followed by periods of no tears
Thankfully, with so many millions of people that have dry eye syndrome, there have been ways we’ve found to combat it. That means you don’t have to suffer from dryness and irritation again! First, you need to make an appointment with us to assess your symptoms in a comprehensive exam. Then, we’ll provide one of the following options after your personal appointment with the optometrist.
Artificial Tears - This is one of the best treatments to relieve dryness. It's our go-to option that can be obtained over-the-counter in drop or ointment form.
Restasis - Restasis is our prescription eye-drop treatment that greatly helps with treating chronic cases of dry eyes. It will actually help your body increase its own tear production.
Lipiflow - If a gland problem is an issue, we can use heat and pressure on the eyelids through our Lipiflow medical device to unblock the clogged glands.
Temporary Punctal Occlusion - For some patients, a dissolving plug needs to be inserted near the tear drain of the lower eyelid, allowing the creation of tears.
Testosterone Cream - Sometimes this is the right option for those 1.68 million men that suffer from dry eye. Low testosterone in the eyelid’s oil glands can lead to decreased tear flow. We can correct that with this cream.
Medications - Did you know that supplementing your diet with fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids can help increase moisture? Nutrition plays a huge role in the health of the body and our vision. We can also use steroid drops to help you with certain dry eye problems.
Make an appointment with us to assess your symptoms. Call our Optical Masters office today at (720) 782-2190 for your free consultation or to learn more. In every stage of life, we don’t want a single dry eye in the house. Call today for comfort and relief that lasts!