How to Relieve Dry Eye Syndrome
If you believe you may have dry eye syndrome, we welcome you to discuss possible treatments that can help relieve the condition with the eye doctors at Elmquist Eye Group.
Elmquist Eye Group has been serving the residents of Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Southwest Florida for more than two decades. E. Trevor Elmquist, DO, his managing partner Kate Wagner, OD, and his associates Sarah Eccles-Brown, MD and Nina Burt, OD, provide comprehensive eye exams and diagnosis and treatment of dry eyes, presbyopia, myopia, hyperopia, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, macular degeneration and other eye conditions.
Dry eyes occur when there are not enough tears to lubricate and nourish your eyes or when the tears are of poor quality. There are many causes, including aging, environmental factors, hormonal changes in women, side effects of disease/medications, diabetes, Sjögrens Syndrome, and laser vision correction surgeries. But dry eyes are treatable, and there is no reason to suffer.
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 strategy that will work specifically for you and your unique eyes.
How Do We Treat Dry Eye Syndrome?
Certain medications, such as antihistamines, blood pressure medications, diuretics, antidepressants and pain medications are often associated with symptoms of dry eyes. Consult your physician about changing medications to alternative ones that are not associated with dry eye.
Artificial tears and lubricating eye drops and gels (available over-the-counter) help provide moisture and lubrication to the surface of the eye and help alleviate mild dry eye symptoms. There are also certain prescription medications approved by the U.S. FDA that may help.
If you experience dry eyes mainly while reading or watching TV, taking frequent breaks to allow your eyes to rest and become moist and comfortable again is helpful. Closing them every five to 10 minutes and blinking more often may also improve your comfort.
Dry eyes are sometimes caused by dry or windy environments, excessive sun exposure, air conditioning, or cigarette smoke. Sunglasses that wrap around the face and have wind-blocking side shields may reduce your symptoms in windy or dry conditions. Quitting smoking and limiting your exposure to secondhand smoke may also help.
In more severe cases, autologous serum tears, formulated from your own blood serum, may be recommended. Another method involves closing the ducts that drain tears out of the eye to help conserve your own tears or make artificial tears last longer.
Although no cure exists for dry eye syndrome, there are many available treatment options that can help relieve the symptoms. Call Elmquist Eye Group at (239) 936-2020 to schedule an appointment and start alleviating your discomfort.