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Dry Eye in Champaign, IL
While all of us get dry eyes now and then, some people have eyes that don’t stay properly lubricated for a variety of reasons. Known as dry eye syndrome, it is a common condition affecting millions of people. While you may think dry eye syndrome in Champaign, IL only occurs when a person cannot produce enough tears, it can also happen when the tears being produced are of poor quality. To gain a better understanding of dry eye syndrome, here are some facts about its causes, treatments, and much more.
What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome?
If you have had problems with dry eyes for a prolonged period of time, you may be suffering from dry eye syndrome. Usually affecting both eyes simultaneously, the most common symptoms include having eyes that feel scratchy and as if they are burning or stinging. Also, your eyes may be red, feel as if there is always something in them, be sensitive to light, and have stringy mucus in or around them.
How Will Dry Eye Syndrome Affect My Daily Life?
When your eyes are constantly feeling dry, it can impact your daily life in many ways. For example, if you have been used to wearing contact lenses, dry eye syndrome may make this difficult or almost impossible. Also, since your eyes may be sensitive to light, nighttime driving often becomes more difficult due to the glare of approaching headlights. Finally, you may experience difficulty staring at a computer screen, since you often blink even less when doing so, resulting in your eyes becoming even drier than they may already be at the moment.
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
As for what causes dry eye in Champaign, its basis can be found in a disruption to the healthy tear film of your eyes. Your tear film, which has layers of fatty oil, mucus, and aqueous fluid, is responsible for keeping the surface of your eyes lubricated and clear. When a problem develops in any one layer, dry eye syndrome can be the result. For many people, dry eye syndrome is caused by hormonal changes, severe allergies, inflamed eyelid glands, and certain types of autoimmune diseases.
Decreased or Increased Tears
In some instances, dry eyes may be caused by either a decrease in tear production or an increase in tear evaporation. When decreased tear production results, it is usually due to getting older, medications such as decongestants or antihistamines, or medical conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Should you have increased tear evaporation, the causes can be allergies, Vitamin A deficiency, or blinking less often, which typically occurs in people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Dry Eye Syndrome Risk Factors
If you are past age 50, female, eat a diet low in Vitamin A or omega-3 fatty acids, and wear contact lenses daily, you have a much higher probability of developing dry eye syndrome. If you find your eyes are bothering you more than usual, don’t wait for it to go away on its own. Instead, visit your eye doctor in Champaign to discover the problem and find a solution.
Are There Complications from Dry Eye Syndrome?
Yes. Along with a decreased quality of life, you may also experience problems with eye infections and even damage to the surface of your eyes. Should your condition go untreated, you may experience corneal ulcers or even vision loss.
How Will My Eye Doctor in Champaign, IL Diagnose Dry Eye Syndrome?
To diagnose dry eye syndrome, eye doctors use a variety of methods. Should you suspect this to be your problem, your eye doctor will not only perform a standard comprehensive eye exam, but also use tests to measure the volume of tear production in your eyes and the quality of your tears. In many cases, a tear osmolarity test is used by eye doctors, since it has proven to be very effective in making an accurate diagnosis.
What Treatments are Used for Dry Eye Syndrome?
Fortunately, there are many different types of treatments available for dry eye syndrome. For example, antibiotics may be prescribed if eyelid inflammation is the primary cause of your problem. If corneal inflammation is to blame, prescription eyedrops containing an ingredient called Restasis may be used. In other more severe cases, doctors can perform procedures to plug tear ducts to prevent tear loss, prescribe special contact lenses that trap moisture, or even have you work with specialists who perform light therapy and eyelid massage.
What About Over-the-Counter Products?
If your dry eye syndrome is less severe, it may be able to be managed using over-the-counter eyedrops known as artificial tears. But before going this route, always discuss your options with your eye doctor in Champaign, IL so that you can know whether or not you can use over-the-counter products or whether there are prescription drops that may be more effective.
What Can I Do to Prevent Dry Eye Syndrome?
Should you be prone to dry eyes, there are steps you can take to prevent the problem from occurring very often. However, dry eye syndrome itself can’t really be prevented. If you have this condition, you may only be able to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms temporarily at home. These include using a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home, wearing wraparound sunglasses when outside, avoiding smoke-filled areas, and taking frequent breaks when reading or working at a computer.
To find out more about dry eye syndrome and what can be done to alleviate your problem, schedule an appointment soon with your eye doctor in Champaign.