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How do I know if I have Dry Eye?

Think you might have dry eye? It’s a fairly common condition, particularly in older adults and those with certain medical conditions.

computer eye strain

Dry eye can be very uncomfortable and may cause more serious problems if left untreated. Fortunately, dry eye can easily be diagnosed and treated by one of our optometrists here at Louisiana Eye & Laser Center. Think you may have Dry Eye? Read on below to learn more about the common symptoms of the condition, or request an appointment online for a Dry Eye consultation.

What is Dry Eye?

Everyone needs tears in order to nourish and lubricate the eyes. Every time you blink, tears lubricate your eyes, reducing the risk of infection and washing away foreign matter. Dry eye is a condition in which a person does not produce enough quality tears to nourish and protect the eyes. Symptoms include dryness, burning, and redness in the eyes. In general, there are two reasons that dry eye can occur:

  • Not enough tears – Tear production generally decreases with age. It can also be impacted by certain medical conditions or medications. If environmental conditions cause tears to evaporate too quickly, dry eye can also occur.
  • Poor quality tears – Tears are made up of water, oil, and mucus. A lack of any of these layers can lead to dry eye symptoms. The most common cause of dry eye occurs when the water layer is inadequate, causing a condition called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), which is known as dry eye syndrome.

If untreated, dry eye can lead to damage to the front surface of the eye and impaired vision.

dry eye rubbing eyes

What causes Dry Eye?

Dry eye is most commonly associated with age and gender. A majority of people over the age of 65 will experience symptoms of dry eye. Women are particularly vulnerable to experiencing dry eye symptoms. However, dry eye can affect individuals who live in dry or windy environments, regardless of age or gender. It can also be a side effect of some medications. Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, or thyroid problems are more likely to have symptoms of dry eye as well.

What should I do if I think I have Dry Eye?

Dry eye can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam here at Louisiana Eye & Laser Center. An optometrist in one of our offices may evaluate your medical history to determine any general health problems, medications, or environmental conditions. An external examination of the eye, including lid structure and blink dynamics, can also help an optometrist determine if you have dry eye. One of our eye doctors will likely evaluate your eyelids and cornea using bright light and magnification. If necessary, tears can be tested for quantity and quality, including any abnormalities or imbalances that would lead to dry eye.

Self-care remedies include blinking regularly, increasing the humidity at home and work, wearing sunglasses, and taking natural supplements that include omega-3 fatty acid. You should also avoid dehydration by drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day. If necessary, your optometrist may prescribe or recommend an eye drop or artificial tear solution. In severe cases, it may be necessary to conduct a procedure to block tear ducts or to perform surgery.

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Visit Louisiana Eye & Laser Center for Dry Eye Consultation and Treatment

At Louisiana Eye & Laser Center, we have over 40 years of experience treating patients and delivering excellent customer service. We have cutting-edge technology and some of the best practitioners in the state of Louisiana. If you think you may be suffering from dry eye, come visit one of our 14 offices right here in Louisiana!