Dry Eyes Dallas, TX

Dry Eye Syndrome in Dallas

Blinking causes a film of tears to spread across making the surface of the cornea smooth and clear. Dry eyes occur when the tear film is insufficient to properly moisturize the cornea leading to blurred vision, itching, redness, and pain.

The normal tear film consists of 3 layers: an inside mucin layer, a watery middle layer, and an oily outside layer. All 3 layers have to be in the right balance for proper function. People usually begin experiencing dry eye symptoms as they age, but the condition can also result from certain medications, conditions or injuries.

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causes of dry eye

In humid Dallas, it could seem difficult to develop dry eye, but the causes are actually mostly internal. As we age, we naturally create fewer tears. This is especially true of women due to hormonal changes. While both men and women get dry eye, is it more common in women who have been through menopause.

Dry eye can develop when the tear ducts are not producing a sufficient number of tears. Or the condition can be due to a chemical imbalance in the tears themselves. Natural tears require a particular chemical balance to lubricate the eyes efficiently. Sometimes, your eyes are actually overproducing tears due to the irritation in your eyes, but the tears aren’t the right consistency to help.
Beyond aging and hormones, there are a variety of other causes of dry eye:

  • Entropion (eyelids turn in) or ectropion (eyelids turn outward)
  • Blepharitis
  • Certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disease
  • Long periods looking at a computer screen or reading, without blinking frequently enough
  • Long use of contact lenses
  • Being in smoke, wind, or very dry climates
  • Having refractive eye surgery, such as LASIK or PRK
  • Side effects of certain medications, such as diuretics, allergy/cold medicines, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety and anti-depressives, heartburn medicines, and beta-blockers

symptoms of dry eye

These are the signs and symptoms of dry eye, which usually affects both eyes:

  • Stinging, burning, or scratchy sensation in your eyes
  • Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye redness
  • A sensation of having something in your eyes
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Difficulty with nighttime driving
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision or eye fatigue

Can dry eye cause blurry vision?

Blurry vision is a common symptom of chronic dry eye. A healthy tear film doesn’t simply keep the front of the eye moist, it is also important for clear vision. Your tears must have the correct balance of water, oils, and mucus to allow the tear film to spread evenly across the surface of the cornea. If the tears evaporate too easily or become too oily and mucus-filled, this can make your vision blurry. Blinking fully and frequently can decrease this, as it spreads the tear film across the cornea.

Can dry eye cause permanent damage to my eyes?

For most people, dry eye can come and go due to extended computer use, windy days, long-term wearing of contact lenses and the like. But for others, dry eye can be a chronic problem. While not associated with true vision damage, dry eye can cause significant eye inflammation and even scarring on the cornea.

Dry Eye Treatment

  • Treatment of dry eye syndrome is first targeted at removing any offending cause.
  • Artificial tear supplements are usually the first-line treatment. Restasis (cyclosporin) and the newly released Xiidra (lifitegrast) are initiated if artificial tears alone are not helpful.
  • Punctal plugs are microscopic plugs that can be inserted into any one of the 4 tear ducts that drain tears from the eye.
  • There are special contact lenses that provide comfort for severe dry eye patients.
  • We also may be able to prevent or treat dry eyes nutritionally. There are many studies being conducted to help us learn more about the relationship between vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and eye health. So far, there have been promising findings associating Omega-3 fatty acids and flaxseed oil with a reduction of dry eye symptoms. Eating foods such as walnuts and cold-water fish like herring and mackerel that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids or taking a supplement has been shown to lower the risk of developing dry eye syndrome.

Can dry eye be permanently cured?

Dry eye can be permanently cured with punctal plugs, surgery to correct conditions such as ectropion, or even simply switching medications. It may resolve if something like a thyroid disease is successfully treated. If the Meibomian glands are blocked, opening them up and allowing the natural flow of lipids into the tears will correct the condition. But these glands may again block and need to be reopened periodically.

Candidates For punctal plugs

If Dr. Russell finds that your tears are exiting your eyes too quickly, before they can fully bathe the eyes, he may opt to partially or completely close your tear ducts. While this sounds complex, it is really a relatively simple in-office procedure where he inserts tiny silicone plugs, known as punctal plugs, into your tear ducts. This keeps your tears on your eyes longer. A nice thing about this treatment option is that if your condition changes in the future, the plugs can be removed.

How do punctal plugs work?

Punctal plugs are simple. They are tiny silicone plugs that are placed in your tear ducts. They act like a drain stopper in a bathtub, keeping the tears in your eyes, rather than draining out through the ducts. Now that your tears stay on the surface of your eyes, the eyes receive the lubrication they need.

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To learn more about dry eyes and to find out if you are a candidate, contact us today at (214) 522-2661 to schedule an appointment.

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