Q: What can I do to prevent dry eyes?
A: Dry eyes are caused by many factors. If you know you have dry eyes, try to pay attention to what makes them feel better or worse. For example, do not blow your hair dryer directly towards your eyes. Add moisture to the air with a humidifier. Use eye protection outdoors like wrap around sunglasses or other protective eyewear. Be mindful of changes in your environment (traveling). Position your computer screen below eye level. Stop smoking and avoid smoky areas. Supplement with lubricating eye drops and Omega 3 (orally).
Q: If my eyes water how can I have dry eyes?
A: There are two basic types of tears; lubricating tears and reflex tears. Lubricating tears are the “normal tears” that help to properly lubricate our eyes so they feel comfortable and stay healthy. Reflex tears occur when the eyes feel some type of discomfort. If someone has a gnat fly into their eye, their eyes then water because of the reflex tear response. If someone gets poked in the eye, the eye will then probably hurt, and also water from the reflex tear response. If we’re outside on a cold windy day, the cold air has a drying effect on our normal tear film, causing evaporation where our eye’s defense mechanism kicks in a reflex tear response. The reflex tear mechanism happens as a result of some form of pain or discomfort, which then makes the eyes water. Here’s one of my previous blog posts, on “Simple Steps to Relieve Dry Eye.In addition to dry eye syndrome, there are countless reasons why the eye could be watering. If your eyes water, be sure to visit your eye doctor to have your eyes examined, so they can help you to get your eyes feeling better.
Q: How do you treat Dry Eyes?
A: Dry eyes are one of the most common problems people have with their eyes. That's why when you go to the supermarket you see literally hundreds of different options of eye drops for the eyes. However, many of these drops do not solve the problem they just cover the symptoms and this could cause major problems down the road. The two worst drops to use are Visine and/or clear eyes or anything of those families. They have a drug in them that just constrict blood vessels so that it does get the red out but it does not get to the root of the problem which is causing the dry eye. For proper dry eye treatment you need to have your eyes looked at by an eye care professional and they will develop a program for you to address the problem properly. Normally in run-of-the-mill dry eye you start to develop symptoms early and it could just be a dry scratchy feeling, or a foreign body sensation or just grittiness. These symptoms can get worse towards the end of the day and also can sometimes be exacerbated by wearing contact lenses. A lot of people blame their contact lenses, however it has nothing to do with the contact lenses because it is the underlying dry eye issue that is the main problem. Here at our offices we do the artificial tears and some other special drops that help with the symptoms however normally we like to employ a procedure called punctal plugs, a small collagen plug is placed into the tear duct to slow down the out flow of tears off of your ocular surface. This will help keep your natural tear film at a higher level allowing your eyes to be hydrated like they're supposed to be through the day consistently. The problem with just doing regular artificial tears drops is that when I prescribe it, it has to be done six to eight times a day and a lot of patients have a hard time sticking to the treatment regimen. The beauty about the punctal plugs s that once they are in place it is like a "set it and forget it" type of therapy. It is acting and the patient doesn't even know it is working. We re-evaluate every 6 months and this has saved a lot of my contact lens patients from dropping out of contact lenses completely.
Q: Why do my eyes water all the time? What can I do to make it stop?
A: Although it seems counterintuitive, watering is a sign of dry eye disease. When the eyes are dry a signal is sent to the brain to trigger tearing. In order to stop the eyes from tearing we need to treat the dryness. There are many lifestyle factors that contribute to dry eye disease. For example, while watching television, using a computer or reading we are so fixated on the task at hand that we do not blink as often as we should and the tear film evaporates and leaves our cornea exposed to the air. Another example is spending time near a fan or in front of an air vent; this too can cause our tear film to dry up quickly. While there are several more reasons for dry eye disease to occur, the good news is that it can be treated. There are several drops, medications, and home remedies that can be used and your optometrist can help to determine the treatment plan that is right for your type of dry eye disease.
Q: My eye is suddenly red and irritated/painful, what should I do?
A: Whenever you get a red eye, it is very important to make an emergency eye appointment immediately with our eye doctor to see what the cause is. Some red eyes will go away with rest, but some are vision threatening and could cause blindness within 24 hours (ie. If the cause was a microorganism from contact lens wear). If you wear contact lenses, remove them immediately and do not wear until the redness subsides. Our doctor uses a high magnification slit lamp to examine your eyes to determine the exact cause of the problem and will treat accordingly. A family doctor usually does not have the necessary equipment and will treat based on your symptoms only. If your eyes need antibiotic eye drops, our eye doctor can prescribe the proper ones for your condition.
Q: Is it harmful to rub my eyes?
A: Yes. It might seem harmless, but rubbing and touching your eyes are not a good thing. It can cause eye infections or allergies to worsen. Our hands are not always the cleanest and you can possibly scratch your eyes. Rubbing your eyes a lot can even induce astigmatism because you're changing the shape of your eyes.
Q: My eye is suddenly red and irritated/painful, what should I do?
A: Some red eyes will go away with rest, but some are vision threatening and could cause blindness within 24 hours (ie. If the cause was a microorganism from contact lens wear). Whenever you get a red eye, it is very important to make an emergency eye appointment immediately with our eye doctor to see what the cause is. If you wear contact lenses, remove them immediately and do not wear until the redness subsides. Our doctor uses a high magnification slit lamp to examine your eyes to determine the exact cause of the problem and will treat accordingly. A family doctor usually does not have the necessary equipment and will treat based on your symptoms only.If your eyes need antibiotic eye drops, our eye doctor can prescribe the proper ones for your condition.