Everything You Need to Know about Dry Eye Explained by Our Optometrists in Chicago & Orland Park
Tears provide moisture and nourishment to the eyes. They maintain the health of the surface of the eye, and wash debris from the eye to maintain clear vision. Dry eye is a common and often chronic condition where the eye does not have enough tears to keep it moistened and nourished.
Each time you blink your eyes, tears spread across the surface of the eye, known as the cornea. Tears lubricate the eyes, wash away foreign matter, reduce the risk of infection, and keep the cornea smooth and clear. Excess tears flow into drainage ducts at the inside corner of the eyelids, and into the back of your nose.
Common Causes of Dry Eye
Dry eye can occur when the eyes do not produce enough tears, or when the tears are of poor quality. Tear production tends to diminish with age; certain medical conditions and medications can decrease tear production. Environmental conditions, such as dry conditions and wind, can hasten evaporation of tears.
Dry eyes can also develop when tears are of poor quality. Tears consist of three layers – water, oil and mucus. Tears that contain too much water and not enough oil or mucus evaporate quickly.
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is dryness of the conjunctiva, which is the membrane lining the inside of the eyelids and whites of the eyes, and the clear cornea covering the iris and pupil of the eye. The condition may develop as the result of inadequate tear production or tears that evaporate too quickly.
In cases of keratoconjunctivitis, the eye may become irritated, sensitive to light, and often burn and itch. Patients may feel a gritty or scratchy sensation, or feel like there is something in their eye.
How Our Chicago & Orland Park Optometrists Diagnose and Treat Dry Eye
An optometrist diagnoses dry eye by examining the eye and performing tests. In one test, the eye doctor measures tear production by placing a strip of paper against the edge of the eyelid. An optometrist may examine the eyes with a slit lamp or measure how long it takes eyes to dry out when the patient stares without blinking.
Treatment includes artificial tears to moisten the eyes or the insertion of tiny plugs into the tear ducts to prevent tears from draining away. These treatments increase surface moisture to relieve the symptoms of dry eye.
Contact Our Optometrists in Chicago or Orland Park to Learn More about Dry Eye Treatments
If you or a member of your family suffers from dry eye, make an appointment with our optometry professionals at Wear Eyewear, the fashionable choice for superior eye care in Chicago and Orland Park. Call (312) 257-3469 for an appointment in Chicago or (708) 340-0207 to visit an optometrist in Orland Park.