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Frequently Asked Questions About Dry Eyes Answered By Our Meridian Optometrist

If you frequently have red, itchy, dry eyes, you could have chronic dry eye syndrome. This condition is relatively common, and it can be very uncomfortable. In some cases, it can be painful. If you think that you are suffering from this condition, there are a few things that you should know about it.

Woman with Dry Eye

What Is Dry Eye?

When you cry, your eyes produce tears. Your eyes also produce tears to keep the lubricated so that you can see clearly. Dry eye is a condition where your eyes don't create enough tears to properly nourish your eyes and keep them lubricated.

What Causes Dry Eye?

There are several causes of dry eye. These include:

  • Age: Dry eye can occur naturally during the aging process. Many people over the age of 65 experience dry eye to some degree.
  • Gender: Because of hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and menopause, women are more prone to dry eye than men.
  • Medical Conditions: People who suffer from diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid issues are likely to develop dry eye.
  • Eye Conditions: Certain conditions of the eye can cause dry eye such as blepharitis which is an inflammation of the eyelid. Inflammation of the surface of the eye can also cause this condition. When a person's eyelids turn inward or outward, they are also prone to dry eye.
  • Medication: Certain medications such as antihistamines, blood pressure medications, decongestants, and blood pressure medications can reduce the production of tears.
  • Environmental Conditions: If you are frequently exposed to smoke, dry climates, or windy climates, you can develop the symptoms of dry eye. The same is true if you spend your day in front of a computer screen.
  • LASIK and Long Term Contact Lens Use: If you had LASIK surgery, it could decrease your tear production. The same is true if you have been wearing your contact lenses for longer than you should be.

How Is Dry Eye Diagnosed?

There are a few ways that your eye doctor can diagnose dry eye. These include:

  • Annual Eye Exam: During your annual eye exam, your optometrist will observe the overall health of your eye. This includes observing the tears that your eyes produce.
  • Schirmer Test: This test is used to measure your tear production. Your optometrist would blot strips of paper under your eyelids. After five minutes, your optometrist would measure the number of tears that have been soaked up on the paper.
  • Check the Surface Condition of the Eyes: Your eye doctor will use special drops to check the condition of the surface of your eye. The stain patterns on your cornea will determine how long it takes for your tears to evaporate.

Can You Wear Contacts With Dry Eye?

If you suffer from dry eye, wearing contacts can worsen the condition; however, there are certain types of contacts that are designed for people with dry eye and will help keep your eyes moist. Soft lenses work great for people with dry eye because they hold more water and allow the eyes to breathe by allowing more oxygen to come in. Contacts with high water content are also great because they draw water from the eye to keep the lenses moist. Finally, contact lenses that you change daily provide the most comfort for a person who is suffering from dry eye.

Schedule an Appointment with our Meridian Optometrist

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of dry eye, you should make an appointment with Primary Eyecare & Optical of Meridian. Our doctors of optometry can run a few tests to determine whether or not you have dry eye. If you do have the condition, our optometrists can create a treatment plan to help you produce more tears.