With today's reliance on computers, smart phones, and other visual media, it's no wonder that dry eye syndrome has become so prevalent. Staring at a computer screen or smart phone for hours at a time can leave your eyes feeling dry and irritated. Of course, dry eye syndrome also has roots in physical problems such as the inability to produce enough tears and blocked oil glands. Dr. Walter Choate offers comprehensive examinations to determine the cause of dry eye syndrome at his Nashville practice. If you suffer from dry eye, he can create a personalized treatment plan that will help you find relief.
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is a condition in which the eyes are chronically red, dry and irritated. The condition was once believed to be primarily caused by the lack of tear production; however, recent studies suggest that tear quality may be more of a factor.. Tear quality is important as tears coat the eyes with a protective film that also serves to help focus light as it enters the eye. This film is made up of an aqueous layer, a substance called mucin, and an oily outer layer to prevent evaporation. Sometimes the meibomian glands, which produce the oil for the tears, don't function properly, resulting in tears that are not oily enough to prevent evaporation. When tear quality is the cause of dry eye syndrome, the condition is referred to as evaporative dry eye. Older people are more prone to experiencing dry eye syndrome, with more women being more susceptible to the condition than men.
Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome has many symptoms ranging from the mild to the severe. Common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:
- Gritty feeling eyes
- Irritated eyes
- Burning eyes
- Blurry vision
- Stabbing pain
- Eye strain
Causes of Dry Eyes Syndrome
The causes of dry eye syndrome can be both environmental and congenital. For some people, dry eye syndrome is directly related to their computer use; for others, it may be an indication of a glandular problem. Potential causes of dry eye syndrome include:
- Prolonged staring at computer or smart phone screen
- Inadequate blinking which is often a result of staring at a computer screen all day
- Meibomian gland dysfunction
- Hormonal changes
- Low-humidity environment such as an air-conditioned office
- Certain autoimmune diseases
- Antihistamines and antidepressants
- Eye makeup
- Contact lenses
Treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome
Treating dry eye syndrome begins with determining the cause. Following your initial consultation, Dr. Choate will do a complete dry eye work-up to analyze tear quantity and quality. This will enable him to determine the most effective course of treatment for your case. Treatments include:
Schedule a Consultation
You don't have to live with the pain and irritation of dry eye syndrome. For more information about dry eye syndrome or other conditions such as macular degeneration, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Choate.