Dry eye syndrome commonly affects between 16 and 49 million Americans. More women have the condition than men. Also, older people deal with dry eye more than young people. It occurs when the eyes produce insufficient or unstable tears. It can lead to various symptoms that can be uncomfortable and painful and may even affect your quality of life.
You can get different solutions to alleviate the symptoms of the condition. Because it has been studied extensively, you can find relief from the condition regardless of its cause. Some solutions involve eye drops, artificial tears, and special heat and pressure therapy. Some treat the condition's symptoms, while some address the source. You need to understand the condition better to know what direction to take.
As mentioned above, it is a condition that affects the production of tears in the eye. Tears are a critical part of the functionality of the eyes. They not only keep the eye lubricated but also help provide clear vision. The symptoms for the two main types of dry eye are the same, but the treatment may differ. The following are the differences between the two types of dry eye.
One form of dry eye is one where your eyes fail to produce enough tears. This form can occur due to medication or aging or as a side effect of some medicines. The main part of the tear film affected by this form is the aqueous or water layer. Insufficient tears is the least common of the two forms of the condition.
This is the most common form of the condition. It is also called evaporative dry eye because it is characterized by a tear film that evaporates quickly. The tear film in this condition is unstable because it lacks the lipid layer. The lipid layer is the topmost layer of the tear film, which covers and protects the aqueous and mucus layers. Meibomian gland dysfunction is the most frequent cause of dry eye.
The symptoms of dry eye syndrome can include:
Eye irritation or discomfort
A feeling of something in the eye
Burning or stinging sensation in the eye
Redness of the eye
Watery eyes (this may occur as the eye's natural response to the irritation)
Increased sensitivity to light
Difficulty wearing contact lenses
Difficulty with certain visual tasks, such as reading or using a computer
Artificial tears are the common treatment for dry eye syndrome. They work by lubricating the eye's surface, helping alleviate the symptoms.
Basic lubricating eye drops: These are the most used type of artificial tears and are available over the counter. They are usually clear and have a similar consistency to natural tears.
Gel-based lubricating eye drops are thicker than basic lubricating eye drops and can provide longer-lasting relief.
Prescription lubricating eye drops are usually thicker than basic lubricating eye drops and can provide longer-lasting relief.
Your eye doctor may recommend trying different artificial tears to determine the most effective.
For more on dry eye symptoms, visit Optique Vision at our office in Albany, New York. Call (518) 302-2106 to book an appointment today.