Dry Eye Disease, also known as Dry Eye Syndrome, often causes discomfort and irritation. Fortunately, the experienced doctors at Tuscaloosa Ophthalmology offer a range of dry eye disease treatments to help you achieve relief.
Book an appointment with one of our dry eye disease specialists in or around Tuscaloosa, Alabama today!
Dry Eye Disease, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, or Dry Eye Syndrome, is a very common, chronic eye condition resulting when eyes produce insufficient tears or tears that are of poor quality. Healthy eyes are covered by a thin tear film to help with vision, provide lubrication, act as a barrier against infection, and to wash away foreign matter.
Dry eye is a common condition, impacting more than 16 million adults in the United States.¹ While occasional dry eye can be uncomfortable and irritating, chronic dry eye can prevent people from enjoying the activities they love and may cause damage, often irreversible damage, to the eyes if left untreated. At Tuscaloosa Ophthalmology, we offer a range of treatments designed to address both the symptoms and causes of chronic dry eye.
If you are experiencing any of the following, you may have dry eye:
Irritated eyes, especially in the presence of wind or smoke
Itchy, scratchy, or burning sensation
Feeling like there is something in your eyes
Blurred vision that comes and goes, especially with reading or computer use
Tired eyes with prolonged reading
Intermittent sharp, stabbing eye pain
Difficulty wearing contact lenses
Dry Eye Disease can have many contributing causes. Some causes or risk factors include but are not limited to:
Extended screen time
Prolonged sun exposure
Hormonal imbalances or changes, such as menopause
Frequent use of certain medications, such as antihistamines, diuretics, birth control pills, or decongestants
Glaucoma eye drops
Systemic illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid conditions, Sjogren’s Syndrome, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases
Eyelid diseases such as Demodex, blepharitis, or Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Gender: women are more likely to develop Dry Eye Syndrome
When patients complain of dry, irritated eyes, the eye doctors at Tuscaloosa Ophthalmology can perform tests to diagnose the source of the discomfort and recommend the most appropriate course of treatment. These tests may include:
Schirmer Test: measures the rate of tear production
Tear Osmolarity Test: measures tear quality
Lipiscan: provides a detailed analysis of your oil gland function and structure, along with blinking anomalies, to help detect inflammatory markers and salt content of your tears
Corneal Staining: assesses the condition of the front of your eye and tear quality
Tear Break-Up Test: helps determine the stability of tear film
External Examination: checks for signs of blepharitis and evaluates blink dynamics and structure of your eyelids
Magnification: examines your corneas and eyelids in great detail
Laboratory Tests: helps determine if the source is an underlying medical condition
In addition to performing tests, your doctor will ask you about your lifestyle, work environment, medications, and detailed health history.
Contact the Dry Eye experts at Tuscaloosa Ophthalmology today to schedule an eye exam in the greater Tuscaloosa, AL area.
If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eye, these over-the-counter treatment options may provide some relief.
This is often the first step to relief from dry eye symptoms. Be sure to look for eye drops that are designed to lubricate, not just reduce redness.
Reducing screen time and wearing glasses with non-glare lenses that filter blue light can help alleviate dry eye and eye fatigue from computer screens and digital devices.
Practice the 20/20/20 Rule while using computers: Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break, looking at something 20 feet away. You may also try directing fans and vents away from your eyes and protecting your eyes in dry or windy weather.
A warm, moist compress applied to the eyes for 15 minutes at a time can help unblock oil glands and trigger the eyes to produce more tears. This also helps comfort eyes that are irritated.
A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help with tear production. Eye health supplements may also help.
If you are unable to achieve suitable relief, our doctors can provide effective treatment. This may include:
Our doctors can prescribe specialized eye drops to help decrease inflammation, lubricate the surface of the eye, and minimize irritation. These drops can help your body produce more tears naturally.
Punctal plugs, also known as tear duct plugs, are small devices that our doctors can insert into the inner corners of the eyelids. This prevents tears from leaving the eyes too quickly, promoting lasting lubrication, and alleviating symptoms of dry eye.
Damage caused by dry eye can be treated with this biological corneal bandage.
It may seem odd that overly watery eyes are a symptom of dry eye disease, but it’s true. Excessive tearing is your body’s way of reacting to irritation or excessive dryness of the eyes.
For most patients, dry eye disease cannot be cured. However, with effective treatment our eye doctors are able to provide patients with significant, long-lasting symptom relief and can prevent irreversible damage to the eye and surrounding tissue.
Yes. In cases where patients suffer from moderate to severe, chronic dry eye, it is possible to incur damage to the eyes and surrounding tissue. Untreated dry eye may lead to pain, recurrent infections, corneal ulcers, corneal scars, and even vision loss.
Do you think, or have been told you have dry eye disease? Book an appointment with the trusted Tuscaloosa, AL eye doctors at Tuscaloosa Ophthalmology. We’ll diagnose the source of your dry eyes and come up with treatment options that best meet your needs.
Relief is just a call or click away!
¹Farrand KF, Fridman M, Stillman IÖ, Schaumberg DA. Prevalence of Diagnosed Dry Eye Disease in the United States Among Adults Aged 18 Years and Older. Am J Ophthalmol. 2017;182:90‐98. doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2017.06.033. Available: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28705660/.