Dry Eyes have been getting a lot of media attention. Even the Wall St. Journal recently published a detailed article “Why There Are More Dry Eyes in the House These Days” in their July 9, 2013 issue! There are probably about ten times the number of articles on dry eye in current eye care journals than there were ten years ago.
Why all the interest? One of the reasons is that how we diagnose and treat Dry Eye has become much more precise. Years ago, treatment was pretty much limited to handing the patient whatever bottle of lubricant eyedrops the last pharmaceutical rep left. That’s all changed because there has been so much more research into the causes and treatments of dry eye.
In addition to much more problem specific lubricating eye drops and ointments, we can also prescribe prescription eyedrops such as Restasis, Topical Steroid eyedrops such as Lotemax, Punctal Occlusion techniques and we even use low dose oral antibiotics such as doxycycline. Several pharmaceutical companies have new treatments for dry eye syndrome in the works.
The person who has dry eye corneal irritation because they sleep with their eyes partially open needs a different dry eye treatment than the patient who has arthritis related dry eye – or allergy related dry eye – or Lasik related dry eye – or corneal surface irregularity dry eye – or ‘meibomian gland dysfunction’ dry eye. We now have the ability to diagnose and treat different types of dry eye.
The most typical complaint we hear from people who have dry eyes is that there is a gritty sensation in their eyes. It may even feel as if there is something in your eye. Many people are surprised to find out that dry eyes can cause vision to be blurry. And, people who have both dry eyes and eye allergies are particularly uncomfortable.
For patients who have dry eye and/or allergic eye symptoms, I recommend an Ocular Surface Evaluation. This examination includes a detailed history and a determination as to whether the cause of your dry eye is excess evaporation of tears, inadequate production of tears, or is related other problems that can affect dry eye symptoms. This type of exam is typically covered by medical insurance (not vision plan insurance).
Whether your dry eyes are mildly annoying or very uncomfortable, we can help.
Dr. Ally Stoeger provides annual eye examinations, medical eye care, contact lens examinations and Lasik/refractive surgery co-management in the Gainesville-Haymarket area of Virginia. GH Eye also has a superb collection of high tech lenses and the latest in fashion frames.