Dry Eye Diagnosis & Treatment Fort Myers
Every year millions of patients visit eye doctors with complaints related to dry eye syndrome. Visit Elmquist Eye Group in Fort Myers for a diagnosis and explore the treatment options that may help alleviate the burning, irritation, scratchiness, redness, and discomfort.
Elmquist Eye Group has been serving Southwest Florida for over 25 years. Ophthalmologist E. Trevor Elmquist, DO, managing partner, Kate Wagner, OD, and associates, ophthalmologist Yasaira Rodriguez, MD, and optometrist Nina Burt, OD, provide a comprehensive range of eye care services to everyone.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Eyes need tears to stay healthy and comfortable. Dry eye occurs when the quantity or quality of your tears fails to keep the surface of your eyes smooth, clear and well-lubricated.
Experts estimate that dry eye affects millions of Americans. The risk of developing dry eye increases with age, and women have a higher prevalence of dry eye compared to men.
If you experience one or more of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment with Elmquist Eye Group for a complete diagnosis of your eyes.
- Stinging or burning sensation in the eyes
- Gritty feeling like something is in the eyes
- Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
- Tired, red, irritated eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Eyes get tired while reading
- Eye discomfort that worsens as the day goes on
- Crusty discharge in the morning upon waking
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
Ordinarily, our eyes constantly lubricate themselves with tears. When those tears are produced at a slow, steady rate, they keep the eye moist, healthy and comfortable and protect them from irritants. About 20% of the population experiences dry eyes, and it can be a chronic problem, especially in older adults.
Possible causes of dry eye syndrome include:
- Advancing age (tear production normally decreases with age and about 75% of people over age 65 suffer from dry eyes)
- Hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, birth control pills, or menopause
- Dry or windy environments, excessive sun exposure, air conditioning, cigarette smoke
- Certain medications, such as antihistamines, blood pressure medications, diuretics, antidepressants and pain medications
- Long-term contact lens use
- Eye surgeries that affect the cornea, such as LASIK
- Excessive computer use that inhibits blinking which keeps eyes moist
- Untreated or uncontrolled diabetes
- Autoimmune disorders, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, Graves’ disease and Sjögren’s Syndrome, which can damage the glands that produce tears
Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome
Treatments for dry eyes may include artificial tears (eye drops) that help to lubricate the eyes and keep them moist. They are available without a prescription. There are other eye drops that require a prescription.
In more severe cases, your eye doctor may recommend autologous serum tears. These are drops that are formulated by extracting the serum in your blood. The components of these tears are natural and similar to those in your natural tears, so they are very safe to use.
Another method of dry eye treatment involves closing the ducts that drain tears out of the eye and into the nose. Temporarily or permanently blocking those ducts may conserve your own tears and reduce the need for artificial tears.
Dry eyes can occur at any age. Get in touch with Elmquist Eye Group in Fort Myers at (239) 936-2020 for dry eye diagnosis and treatment if you think you may have the condition.