If you suffer with dry eyes, it can have a huge impact on your daily life. Chronic itching, irritation, and inflammation can affect you day and night. Your red, itchy eyes can be not only a physical annoyance, but may also make you self-conscious about your appearance. Our doctors can provide relief for your dry eyes at their Leavenworth practice serving the greater Kansas City area, as well as treat the underlying causes. Contact Reifschneider Eye Center today to find relief.
Causes of Dry Eyes
Dry eyes can occur because of the quality and quantity of tears. Several factors, including aging, medical conditions, and medication side effects, can cause insufficient tear production. When tears are insufficient in quality, this means that one of the three layers of tears - oil, water, or mucus - is not properly balanced. Even with sufficient tear production, tears that are not good quality can lead to dry eyes. If there is not enough mucus in your tears, they will evaporate too quickly. Without sufficient oil, the moisture cannot cover your entire eye.
Age is the most common cause of dry eyes. Other factors that can lead to dry eye include medication, environmental conditions, prolonged computer use, and other health conditions.
Dry Eye Symptoms
An itchy, burning feeling is one of the most common symptoms of dry eyes. Other symptoms include feeling as though something is in your eyes constantly. You may also recognize redness, inflammation, sensitivity to light, tired eyes, excessive mucus collection, and blurred vision. Ironically, watery eyes can also be a symptom of dry eye syndrome. When your eyes are not sufficiently moisturized, your body may produce excess tears in an attempt to compensate. However, your eyes cannot handle this much moisture at once, and you will simply be left with an abundance of tears.
Although dry eye is not typically considered a serious condition, it can affect your long-term ocular health. Problems associated with prolonged dry eye include:
- A higher risk of recurring eye infections.
- Scarring and corneal damage, leading to permanent vision problems.
- Chronic discomfort and annoyance.
Chronic dry eye can, in some cases, be a sign of more serious ocular and overall health conditions. These include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and more. Early and accurate diagnoses of dry eye syndrome helps patients avoid progressive symptoms and can detect dangerous conditions early.
To diagnose dry eye, Dr. Reifschneider will ask you questions and also use tear measurement tests to evaluate the severity of your condition.
There are several methods of effectively treating dry eye syndrome. Our doctors typically begin with the least invasive method. Artificial tears may be enough to moisturize your eye and prevent the symptoms of dry eye syndrome. We also offer RESTASIS®, the only type of eye drop that can actually increase your natural tear production. If medicated eye drops do not prove effective, we may recommend punctal plugs. These silicone plugs block your tear ducts, preventing moisture from evaporating from your eyes too quickly.
Schedule an Appointment
If itchy, dry eyes are taking a toll on your quality of life, contact us today. We can help you find relief from your symptoms.