Dry Eye Doctor Near Me
If your eyes have been feeling scratchy and dry and it has been going on for a while, you may have a condition called dry eye, a common condition that occurs when a person is unable to produce sufficient tears to keep the eyes adequately lubricated. If you do have dry eye, you may have been wondering, “Is there a dry eye doctor near me?” There is! Dry eye is one of the conditions we frequently treat at Elmquist Eye Group, Southwest Florida’s premier eye professionals.
What causes dry eye?
The official medical term for dry eye is called keratoconjunctivitis sicca, and the condition typically occurs in both eyes at once. Tear fluid is a mixture of water, mucus and fatty oils, a mixture that keeps the surface of the eye moist and clear of irritants. In people with dry eye, they either have an imbalance in this fluid composition or decreased tear production. Either way, the eye is not adequately lubricated.
Aging is the primary cause of dry eye, but the condition 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.
What are the signs?
People over age 50, particularly women, are at higher risk for dry eye. People who have diets lacking in Vitamin A or omega-3 fatty acids are also at risk, as are those who wear contact lenses.
Typical symptoms of dry eye are scratchiness, stinging and burning. Some people also experience light sensitivity, and most with the condition find it difficult to wear contact lenses. Driving at night and reading can be more difficult, too.
Unfortunately, having dry eye does make a person more likely to develop eye infections because the tears are not doing the job of first line of defense.
Can I prevent dry eye?
Dry eye can absolutely be prevented. One way is to ensure that no air source from either a heater or an air conditioner or fan is blowing directly into your eyes because the air flow causes tears to evaporate much more quickly. If you are in a dry area, use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
Most of us work on the computer for hours on end, so be sure to blink frequently and give your eyes a break every 20 minutes or so. If your eyes feel dry, close your eyes, then blink repeatedly to redistribute the tears across your eyes. Protect your eyes from the glare of our intense Florida sun, too.
How is dry eye treated?
Serious dry eye can lead to eye inflammation and even abrasion on the surface of the eye. Remember that dry eye is a very common condition. We treat many patients with the condition, and if you’re one who has had symptoms for a while, it is important to see a doctor. If you are looking for a dry eye doctor near you, there is no better place than Elmquist Eye Group for all of your eye care needs. We have two convenient locations, so call us today to schedule an appointment.