Dry eye disease occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears to lubricate the outer layers of your cornea or when they evaporate too quickly. This can lead to swelling, eye pain, and vision problems. Symptoms often include a stinging or burning feeling in the eyes.
The tear film that covers your eye surface can be affected by multiple factors, such as dry weather, smoking, poor hydration, or spending too much time looking at a computer screen.
Treatment for dry eyes depends on the root cause of your condition. Once your eye specialist has identified the cause of your dry eyes, the treatment may range from lifestyle changes and eye drops to medication and in-office procedures, like teardrop plug insertion.
Types of Dry Eye Disease
There are different types of dry eye disease:
Aqueous-deficient dry eye disease happens when the lacrimal glands, in charge of secreting tears, don’t produce enough tears. Autoimmune conditions, hormonal changes, and age often cause this type of dry eye.
Evaporative dry eye disease affects the oil glands producing the oily layer of the tear film that protects your eye. When this happens, tears evaporate too quickly, leading to eye pain and irritation. Obstructive gland diseases often cause this type of dry eye disease.
Mixed dry eye disease happens when there is a combination of these two types of dry eye diseases. In cases like this, the lacrimal glands don’t produce enough tears, and the ones that are produced evaporate too quickly.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
Symptoms of dry eye syndrome often include:
Burning or gritty feeling in the eyes
Mucus in the eyes
Sensitivity to light
Difficulty seeing at night
Watery, stinging eyes
These symptoms may affect one or both eyes.
Causes of Dry Eye
Dry eye disease can happen due to external factors, or it can be a sign of a correlated illness. These include:
A visual acuity test that measures your vision at different distances.
A dilated eye exam thatinvolves eye drops to dilate and examine your pupils.
Aslit-lamp exam that uses a bright light microscope to examine the cornea, iris, and lens.
A retinal exam involves the examination of the back of the eye.
A tonometry that measures the pressure inside your eye.
Dry Eye Treatment
Dry eye treatment will depend on the underlying cause preventing your eyes from producing the right lubrication.
Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes
For mild dry eyes caused by environmental or lifestyle factors, there are multiple home remedies and changes to your routine that can help you soothe discomfort.
Home treatments often include:
Using a heat compress for your eyelids
Using a humidifier
Taking omega-3 supplements
Avoiding allergens like pollen or dust by using sunglasses outdoors
Lifestyle changes include:
Drink enough water
Take breaks from staring at computer screens
Get between seven to eight hours of sleep daily
Eye drops can help with pain and discomfort caused by dry eye disease by moisturizing the outer layer of your cornea. A range of eye drops is available to treat dry eye disease, depending on its root cause.
These include over-the-counter artificial tears, thicker lubricants like night ointments, or prescription eye drops for more severe conditions.
Prescription medication to treat dry eyes includes:
Medication to reduce swelling around the eye that may be blocking the tear canal
Medication to stimulate tear production
For more severe cases of dry eye, your doctor could recommend removable teardrop plugs of silicone. These are inserted into the tear ducts, preventing tears from evaporating too quickly and stimulating their production.
For people whose dry eye disease is caused by an autoimmune disease, such as the meibomian gland dysfunction, there are multiple in-office procedures that can help soothe symptoms:
Thermal pulsation therapy uses massage and warmth to relax your eyelids and help your glands produce oil.
Intense pulsed light therapy involves using light pulsation to melt blockage in your eye glands so the oil can be produced.
Contact lenses prescribed by your eye doctor can help soothe discomfort by lubricating the surface of your eyes. These are often available as:
Soft bandage lenses that focus on protecting your cornea.
Rigid scleral lenses are usually larger and focus on lubricating your eyes while correcting vision issues.
Dry Eye Prevention
Dry eyes can often be prevented by healthy habits and avoiding eye-irritating environments. These include:
Using a humidifier in dry or cold weather
Wearing sunglasses while outdoors
Taking breaks from computer and phone screens
Getting enough sleep
Keeping your eyes moist with over-the-counter eye drops
Drinking lots of water
Dry Eye Treatment in New York
EyesNY offers treatment to help patients treat dry eye discomfort or the underlying condition causing it. Our specialized team of ophthalmologists is ready to assess your needs and give you the high-quality vision care you deserve.
We work with cutting-edge technology to identify the root cause of your condition and create personalized treatment plans. Our caring staff is ready to welcome you and meet your ocular health and vision needs.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.