According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 4.88 million individuals over the age of 50 have dry eye syndrome, which is characterized by red, itchy, scratchy eyes. Thankfully, this common eye ailment is completely treatable once the causes are known.
Causes of Dry Eye
Dry eye occurs when there is a problem with the basal tears. Basal tears are not like emotional tears, which are comprised of oil, water, and mucus. The oil helps prevent the tears from drying too quickly on the surface of the eye. The watery layer helps the tears spread evenly over the eyes, and the mucus layer combines with the watery layer to help ensure eye hydration. If any of these layers are deficient, symptoms of dry eye can develop.
- Medications – The most common cause of dry eye is prescription and OTC medications. Usually, they will list dry eye as a side-effect.
- Older Adults – As we age, the basal tear production in the eyes can reduce. This is why most people who have dry eye are over the age of 50.
- Having an Immune Disorder – Autoimmune disorders can cause dry eyes. Common conditions include Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome.
- Having Allergies – Seasonal allergies can lead to dry, itchy scratchy eyes.
- Environmental Conditions – Individuals who work in dry, dusty or windy conditions can develop symptoms of dry eye.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
Dry eye can result in a wide range of symptoms that may not be readily noticeable. If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to call our office and schedule an appointment with Mile High Eye Institute to diagnose the causes of your dry eye and develop a dry eye treatment plan.
- Having blurry vision, difficulty seeing at night or a sensitivity to light
- Having eyes that are scratchy or feel gritty when you blink
- Having red eyes or feeling like your eyes are burning
- Sudden intolerance to wearing contact lenses
Mile High Eye Institute are committed to providing our patients with the best and most up to date treatment options for all eye conditions.
- Oasis artificial tears – recommended preservative free artificial tears that can be purchased through our office.
- Autologous serum tears – Artificial tears that are made from your own blood. Your blood contains many natural anti-inflammatory properties and growth factors that we can place directly upon the eye to quell inflammation caused by dry eye.
- Punctal plugs – Increases the contact time of tears on the front surface of the eye.
- Restasis – A prescription eye drop that decreases inflammation and increases tear production. Can take up to 3 months to provide long-lasting relief.
- Amniotic membrane contact lens – In cases of severe dry eye that has caused damage to the cornea. This natural contact lens has healing capabilities to restore the cornea to an undamaged state.
- Scleral contact lens – In severe cases of dry eye a scleral contact lens can provide relief by bathing the eye in non-preserved saline while also giving the patient great vision.
If you are having symptoms of dry eye, give our Mile High Eye Institute office a call today at (303) 482-1300 to schedule an appointment.