Dry Eyes: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Ophthalmology Physicians & Surgeons, PC in Philadelphia, PA, offers customized treatments for dry eyes. This common eye disorder, also known as chronic dry eye (CDE), is often the result of certain medical conditions, the natural aging process, or eyelid malfunction. If you are experiencing persistent eye irritation or other symptoms of dry eyes, our doctors can use sophisticated techniques and technology to help you achieve relief.
We can provide a variety of treatment options to restore your ocular health and comfort.
What is Dry Eye?
Each time you blink your eyes, tears spread across the cornea, flow into the inner corner of the eyes through the tear ducts, and drain into the nose and throat. When this occurs, it keeps the eye moist and clear, washes away dirt and other debris, and prevents eye infections.
If the eyes are unable to produce sufficient tears due to drainage problems or an imbalance of tear production, it can cause corneal scarring and inflammation. Tears are responsible for keeping the surface of the eye lubricated. If left untreated, dry eyes can lead to chronic pain and permanent vision problems.
Common symptoms of dry eyes include:
- Red or irritated eyes
- Burning or scratchy eyes
- Gritty eyes or the constant feeling of something in your eyes
- Excessive tearing (watery eyes)
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Trouble wearing contact lenses
Tears are responsible for keeping the surface of the eye lubricated. If left untreated, dry eyes can lead to inflammation and corneal scarring.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
A variety of factors can contribute to the development of dry eyes, such as eye surgeries, contact lenses, and weather changes. Other factors include:
- Gender – Hormonal changes dues to pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and menopause can cause dry eyes in women.
- Age – Patients over the age of 65 have a greater chance of developing dry eyes.
- Medical conditions – Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, diabetes, lupus, eye inflammation, and eyelid disorders (entropion and ectropion) have all been linked to dry eyes.
- Environmental factors – Change in weather, smoke, dry and windy climates, and excessive time spent looking at a computer screen use can all contribute to dry eyes.
- Medications – Certain medications, such as decongestants, blood pressure medication, antihistamines, and antidepressants can affect tear production.
Common Dry Eye Treatments
During your consultation, one of our doctors will perform a detailed eye examination involving a variety of tests in addition to reviewing your lifestyle, diet, and any medications to identify the root cause of your dry eyes. Depending on the doctor's findings, we may recommend:
- Artificial Tear Solutions: For mild symptoms of dry eyes, over-the-counter eye drops can help keep your eyes well lubricated in order to prevent irritation.
- Medications: We can provide prescription medications to reduce eye inflammation and help keep your eyes lubricated.
- Conserving Tears: We can permanently plug the tear ducts through laser cauterization, or provide a temporary solution with a removable silicone plug.
- Increasing the Production of Tears: Medicated eye drops can keep the eye lubricated while increasing tear production.
Contact Us to Learn More
If you are struggling from chronic dry eyes and excessive tearing, our team can provide the relief you need. Contact our office online today or call (215) 672-4300 to schedule your consultation.