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Dry Eye: Causes & Treatment

What is Dry Eye?

One of the most common eye issues today is dry eye. Dry eye happens when a person either doesn’t produce enough tear volume or has a poor quality tear film that isn’t stable enough to keep the surface of the eye sufficiently lubricated. In a healthy eye, lubricating tears—called basal tears—constantly cleanse the cornea. This basal tear secretion rate varies from person to person and is an essential part of keeping the eye healthy, preventing infection, and having clear vision.

The most common form of dry eyes is called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), also known as dry eye syndrome, and is when the water layer of tears is insufficient.

Symptoms of dry eye typically include:

  1. Scratchy, stinging, or burning eyes
  2. A constant feeling that something is in the eye
  3. Blurred vision
  4. Excess tearing followed by dryness
  5. Redness of the eye

Dry eye affects millions of adults. Women are more likely to develop dry eyes earlier, and the risk of developing dry eyes increases with age. Other factors, such as certain medications, medical conditions, and environmental conditions can also increase the likelihood of it developing as well. Computers, phones and tablets consume a large part of the day for the average person. Optometrist, Dr. Gregory Jackson says…Our blink rate drops significantly when we do near tasks. Low blink rate means poor tear distribution and evaporation that leads to the symptoms listed above in many instances.

Oftentimes, a mild case of dry eye can be treated with over-the-counter medications like artificial tears or ointments. Sometimes lifestyle changes—like being sure to wear sunglasses and reducing screen time—can also help. Yet in more serious cases, prescription eye drops that increase tear volume production or ointments at night are needed. Studies support that fish oil supplements can improve dry eye symptoms. Please check with your physician before taking any supplements recommended Dr. Jackson.

At Premier Medical, our eye care professionals understand the frustration of living with constant dry eye. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, give us a call today for more information and find out what treatment would work best for you.

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