What are dry eyes?
There are two reasons why people develop dry eyes. They are:
- Inadequate amount: Usually, your eyes continuously produce tears to keep them moist. When your eyes become irritated, or you cry, your eyes make more tears. Dry eyes result due to a decrease in tear production associated with age, some medical conditions, and side effects of several medications. Additionally, environmental conditions, including wind and decreased humidity, also lead to a decrease in tear production resulting in dry eyes.
- Imbalance of components: Each time you blink, a film of tears covers your eye to keep the surface smooth and clear. Each tear has three layers: Oily outer -- keeps tears smooth and prevents rapid drying, watery middle -- cleans your eyes and washes away debris, and mucus inner -- tear film -- helps spread and stick watery layer to keep eyes moist.
What are the symptoms of dry eyes?
The most common symptoms of dry eyes are:
- Gritty feeling
- Itching or burning
- Feeling as if something is in your eye
- Excessive watering
- Blurry vision
How are dry eyes diagnosed?
To diagnose you with dry eyes, the doctors at James N. Cohn M.D. & Associates review your medical history and symptoms before performing an eye examination that includes:
- External examination of your lid structure and blink dynamics
- Use of light and magnification to evaluate your eyelids and cornea
- Measurement of the quantity and quality of your tears using special dyes to help observe tear flow and highlight changes to the outer surface of your eyes
How are dry eyes treated?
The most common ways to treat dry eyes are:
- Adding tears: The most conservative approach to managing dry eyes is through the use of over-the-counter artificial tear solutions or prescription drops that increase tear production. These drops get used as needed to supplement your natural tear production.
- Conserving tears: If eye drops don’t help relieve your dry eyes, the doctors at James N. Cohn M.D. & Associates offer several ways to keep your natural tears in your eyes longer to help reduce your symptoms. One way to do so is to block your tear ducts with tiny, removable plugs. Surgery is required to close your tear ducts permanently.
- Treating inflammation: Eye drops, ointments, warm compresses, lid massage, and eyelid cleaners help decrease inflammation around the surface of your eyes.
Call or make an appointment online with one of the doctors at James N. Cohn M.D. & Associates if you've had prolonged signs and symptoms of dry eyes, including red, tired or painful eyes.