Dry Eye Treatment Fort Myers
Elmquist Eye Group in Fort Myers and Cape Coral provides a variety of diagnostic tools and treatment options for relief of dry eye syndrome, which can affect both the quality of your vision and your comfort. There are many causes of dry eyes, but the disease is treatable, and there is no reason to suffer.
Elmquist Eye Group has been serving Lee County and Southwest Florida since 1992. E. Trevor Elmquist, DO, his partner, Kate Wagner, OD, and his associates, Nina Burt, OD and Sarah Eccles-Brown, MD, offer a complete range of services for your entire family.
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.
Sometimes, however, we don’t produce enough tears or the right quality of tears, and this causes burning, irritation, scratchiness, redness, and discomfort. This condition is called “dry eye syndrome.”
About 20% of the population experiences dry eyes, and it can be a chronic problem, especially in older adults. It is also a common complaint of patients who have undergone LASIK surgery and those who wear contact lenses. Other possible causes include:
- Dry or windy environments, excessive sun exposure, air conditioning, cigarette smoke
- Aging (the production of tears 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
- Certain medications, such as antihistamines, blood pressure medications, diuretics, antidepressants and pain medications
- Certain conditions, including diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
- A rare autoimmune disorder, called Sjögren’s syndrome, which can damage the glands that produce tears
How Do We Diagnose Dry Eye Syndrome?
Only a doctor can determine if you have dry eye syndrome. During a comprehensive eye exam at Elmquist Eye Group, we will discuss your symptoms and determine if dry eyes may be causing them. In some cases, we will do a special test to determine whether or not your eyes are making enough tears.
An elevated amount of salt in the tears, or “osmolarity,” can be one indication of dry eye syndrome. The TearLab Osmolarity we utilize at Elmquist Eye Group takes a tiny sample of your tears and tests their salt content. The test is quick and painless and will tell us if your condition is mild, moderate or severe. It will also help us choose a treatment plan that will work specifically for you and your unique eyes.
How is Dry Eye Syndrome Treated?
Treatments for dry eyes may include artificial tears (eye drops) that help to lubricate the eyes and keep them moist. Some are available without a prescription, while others require a prescription.
In more severe cases, we 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 temporarily or permanently closing the ducts that drain tears out of the eye and into the nose. This may help conserve your own tears and reduce the need for artificial tears.
If you live or work in Fort Myers, we welcome you to discuss the causes and possible treatments of dry eye syndrome with the eye doctors at Elmquist Eye Group. Get in touch with us at (239) 936-2020 today.