What Causes Dry Eyes
Dry eyes can occur at any age when tear glands fail to make enough tears or they evaporate too quickly. Common causes include windy or dry environments, certain medications, and smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke. Get in touch with Elmquist Eye Group for an evaluation if you are concerned you may have dry eye syndrome.
Trevor Elmquist, DO, and his associates, Kate Wagner, OD and Nina Burt, OD, provide a wide variety of eye care services, from routine eye exams for glasses to dry eye diagnosis and treatment to bladeless laser-assisted cataract surgery.
Dr. Trevor Elmquist is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and a fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He specializes in general ophthalmology and cataract surgery. He has been selected as one of America’s Top Doctors in ophthalmology by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. Dr. Wagner and Dr. Burt are board certified optometrists who provide complete eye care services.
How Are Dry Eyes Diagnosed?
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 they might be caused by dry eyes. In some cases, we will do a special test to find out if your eyes are making enough tears.
The TearLab Osmolarity test is performed by taking a tiny sample of your tears and testing their salt content. The test is quick and painless and will tell us if your condition is mild, moderate or severe, and will enable us to choose a treatment plan that works specifically for you.
Causes of Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome is an ocular surface disease that can affect both the quality of your vision and your comfort. It is a common complaint of patients who have undergone LASIK surgery and those who wear contact lenses. Other potential causes include:
- Dry and/or windy environments, excessive sun exposure, central air conditioning, cigarette smoke
- Hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, birth control pills, or menopause
- Certain medications, such as allergy medications, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, diuretics, antidepressants and pain medications
- A rareautoimmune disorder, called Sjögren’s syndrome, which can damage the glands that produce tears
- Aging (tear production normally decreases with age and about 75% of people over age 65 suffer from dry eyes)
There are diseases that are associated with dry eye disease, such as Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus, so it’s important to let your doctor know if you have a history of these conditions.
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.
If your eyes often feel dry, itchy or scratchy, you may be suffering from dry eyes. To discuss the causes and possible treatments, get in touch with Elmquist Eye Group in Cape Coral or Fort Myers at (239) 936-2020 today.