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Dry Eye Treatment from Our Eye Doctors in Longmont, CO
Approximately 30 percent of adults over 40 suffer chronically dry eyes due to aging, tear gland dysfunction or other eye conditions affecting fluid levels in the eye. Reduced hormone levels in older men and women, autoimmune diseases and prescription medications like antidepressants, beta-blockers or antihistamines can also send people to their eye doctor for relief from dry eyes. If you have continuously dry eyes that interfere with your ability to complete routine tasks or work, make an appointment with your eye doctors in Longmont today for effective dry eye treatment.
Dry Eye Symptoms
In addition to itchiness, burning and stinging, signs of dry eye requiring professional eye care include:
- Sensitivity to moderate or bright lighting
- Stringy/sticky mucus around or in the eyes
- Increasing difficulty seeing at night (especially when driving)
- Inability to wear contact lenses without discomfort
- Blurry vision
- Constantly feeling like something is embedded in the eye (s)
- Eyelid crusting upon awakening
- Eye pain/headaches
Your eye doctors in Longmont urge anyone with dry eyes to schedule an eye exam as soon as possible. Neglecting to see your eye doctor for treatment because you are continuously using over-the-counter eye drops for temporary relief may lead to recurring eye infections, corneal ulcers or corneal scratching.
Diagnosing Causes of Dry Eyes
To diagnose eye conditions responsible for dry eyes, optometrists use a slit lamp microscope to evaluate the thickness of tear film covering your eyes. During your eye exam, the slit lamp device will also measure the stability of tear film chemistry by estimating the time it takes for your tears to "break up". Sometimes, dry eye symptoms arise when tears evaporate more quickly than normal. Additionally, your conjunctiva, cornea and other eye components are examined by your eye doctors in Longmont for signs of abnormalities or damage caused by excessive dryness.
Eye conditions associated with symptoms of chronically dry eyes include:
- Tear gland disorder (xerophthalmia) interfering with production or release of tears. Xerophthalmia is usually associated with Sjogren's syndrome, autoimmune diseases or vitamin deficiencies.
- Alacrima (idiopathic or congenital deficiency/absence of tears)
- Abnormally shaped/sagging eyelids that interfere with proper eye hydration
- Termination of corneal nerve activity (may affect people who have had LASIK or other refractive surgeries)
Blepharitis (infection of the eyelid) may contribute to dry eyes. If your Longmont optometrist diagnoses you with blepharitis, they may prescribe oral antibiotics or antibiotic ointments to get rid of bacteria causing breakdown of the tear film. People with rosacea often develop eyelid rosacea, which can produce symptoms of dry eye. Fortunately, eyelid rosacea responds well to oral antibiotics.
Eye Care and Treatment for Dry Eyes
Optometrists may prescribe artificial tears to relieve the burning and stinging of dry eye syndrome, especially when dry eyes are attributed to aging. Medications such as topical corticosteroids and oral tetracycline may help increase eye fluid content. Cellulose eye inserts can provide consistent lubrication by thickening tear film. Eye inserts for dry eyes are placed in your lower eyelid pockets where they dissolve and mix with natural eye fluids.
Cyclosporine drops promote tear production and decrease eye inflammation that may prevent your eyes from maintaining normal tear amounts. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops work to relieve dry eye symptoms by also reducing superficial inflammation. For severely dry eyes, your eye doctor may recommend insertion of plugs in drainage passageways leading out of the eyes (puncta) to help retain eye fluids.
Contact Longmont Vision Center for More Information Today!
If you suffer from symptoms of dry eyes, call Longmont Vision Center at 303-651-6700 today to schedule an eye exam with one of our optometrists