Your eyes constantly produce tears at a slow and steady rate so that they stay moist and comfortable. Some people are not able to produce enough tears or the appropriate quality of tears to keep their eyes healthy or comfortable. This condition is known as dry eye.
Sometimes people with dry eye will experience excess tearing. This is the eye’s response to the discomfort from dry eye. When the eyes get irritated, the gland that makes tears releases a larger than usual volume of tears, which overwhelm the tear drainage system. These excess tears then overflow from your eyes.
The symptoms of dry eye include scratchiness, stinging, stringy mucus in or around the eyes, and blurry vision.
Dr. Baynham can usually diagnose dry eye by examining your eyes. Sometimes tests that measure tear production are necessary. The Schirmer tear test measures tear production by placing filter-paper strips between your eyeball and your lower lid. Dr. Baynham might also test you for dry eye using diagnostic drops to check for patterns of dryness on the eye’s surface. A patient with chronic dry eye suffers from a compromised tear film quality or quantity leading to increased rates of tear evaporation resulting in a more concentrated tear film or increased osmolarity. The TearLab Osmolarity system can measure your tear film osmolarity in 20 seconds. This gives the doctor a dry eye number and helps tailor a specific treatment plan for you. This is the first test to accurately quantify dry eyes.
Treatments for dry eye includes:
You can also try to prevent tears from evaporating by avoiding wind and dry air from overheated rooms and hair dryers. Smoking irritates dry eyes and should be avoided.
It is important for you to know that some cornea disorders have subtle symptoms that can progress if left untreated. If you notice corneal swelling or bulging, blurred vision or other forms of visual impairment, you may be suffering from a disease of the cornea that could require medical or surgical treatment. To discuss corneal treatment, contact Walton Eye Care to schedule a consultation at (770) 267-4561