Dry Eye Doctor in Cape Coral
Dry eye is a common eye disease that many people over age 50 experience. The condition occurs when the natural tears don’t provide enough lubrication of the eye. If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eye, you likely need a dry eye doctor and, in Cape Coral, there is no better team than Elmquist Eye Group.
What causes dry eye?
Many people do not produce enough tears or they have a tear imbalance in the water/oil/mucus fluid that makes up tears. Instability in the tears leads to inflammation and surface damage in the eye.
Many different conditions can contribute to dry eye, including inflammation, hormonal changes and autoimmune diseases but, for most people, decreased tear production is the main cause. Many people are unable to produce enough tear fluid. This inability increases with age, and certain medical conditions also contribute, as do medications like antihistamines and decongestants.
Other individuals make enough tears but have increased tear evaporation. This can be caused by a dysfunction of the oil-producing eyelid glands (meibomian glands), but is more likely due to blinking less often when doing activities like driving or computer work.
If you have dry eye, you already know that it is uncomfortable. The scratchy and gritty feeling can be very annoying and you may even have burning and stinging. Your eyes may feel even drier during the winter, on an airplane, or when working on your computer. You may also have difficulty driving at night or wearing contact lenses.
What are the risk factors?
People over age 50 are at the highest risk for dry eye because tear production tends to diminish with age. Females are more likely to have a lack of tears, mainly due to hormonal changes that occur throughout life. Diets lacking certain nutrients like vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids can also mean a higher risk.
Dry eye is also more common in people with certain medical conditions like diabetes, thyroid disorders and rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation can damage tear glands as well, and certain medications can lead to dry eye, including blood pressure medications, decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants and hormone replacement therapies.
How is dry eye treated?
Dry eye treatments are eye drops designed to comfort your eyes. We may also recommend that you take Vitamin A and omega fatty acids, as these vitamin deficiencies can contribute to the condition.
If you have dry eye, it is important to see a doctor for evaluation and treatment. People with dry eye can have complications like eye infections and, if dry eye is left untreated, the eye surface can be damaged.
We will perform a comprehensive eye exam, and several tests to measure the volume and quality of your tear production. We may even take tear samples to look for biochemical markers of dry eye disease.
If you’ve had prolonged signs of dry eye, come see us in Cape Coral. Our doctors at Elmquist Eye Group are ready to treat your condition, so give us a call today.