Dry eyes can cause tremendous discomfort and irritation. While the condition does not affect your vision, it can become a significant daily annoyance. Dry eyes are caused by insufficient tear production or inadequate tear quality, causing eyes to become red and irritated, accompanied by a sensation similar to having dust or an eyelash on the surface of your eye. At Primary Eye Care Associates, Dr. Steven Chander and his team offer effective relief for dry eyes. Contact our Chicago practice today to learn more about managing this condition.
Understanding Dry Eyes
Tear deficiency is the most common cause of dry eyes. However, a problem with the makeup of your tears can cause dry eyes as well. Tears are made of water, mucus, and oil. Each of the layers plays an important role in keeping your eyes healthy and hydrated. Water provides the actual moisture for your eye and removes dust and debris from the surface of your eyes. Oil prevents the water from evaporating too quickly. Mucus distributes your tears, helping them coat the entire surface of your eye. If there is a problem with any one of these elements, it can result in dry eye.
Increased Risk for Dry Eyes
There are a number of issues that can increase your risk for dry eyes, including:
- Age: Patients over age 60 may struggle to produce a sufficient quantity of tears.
- Gender: Women are more likely to have dry eyes, especially following menopause or pregnancy.
- Environment: Those who spend a lot of time in dry or windy environments may find that their tears evaporate too quickly. Patients who spend many hours at the computer may also suffer from this condition.
- Health: Certain diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and thyroid conditions, as well as some allergies, can increase the risk of dry eyes.
- Medications: Drugs like antihistamines, antidepressants, and blood pressure medication can increase a patient’s likelihood of developing this condition.
Treatment for Dry Eyes
At Primary Eye Care Associates, we offer a number of treatments for dry eyes. While over-the-counter eye drops can provide relief, they do not address the cause of the problem. We provide some treatments that can help you achieve longer-lasting relief. These include:
- Nutritional supplements : To alleviate your dry eyes, Dr. Chander may prescribe omega-3 fatty acids, often found in flaxseed oil and fish oil. He can also help you add more fatty acids to your diet with foods like salmon.
- Tear duct plugs: Also called punctual plugs, these tiny silicone devices are placed in your tear ducts to prevent tears from evaporating too quickly. This procedure is highly effective. Many of our patients do not require eye drop therapy following treatment. In many cases, this treatment is covered by insurance.
- Heat therapy: If the oil ducts around your eyes are blocked, tears will evaporate too quickly. By routinely applying warm compresses to your eyes, the ducts can become unblocked, and enhance the quantity of your tears.
Our team will work closely with you to decide the right treatment to relieve your particular symptoms.
Soothe Your Dry Eyes
If you suffer from dry eyes, we understand the toll it can take on your daily life. Contact Primary Eye Care Associates today to find effective treatment.