Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

Dealing With Chronic Dry Eye

Your eyes depend on tears to maintain their overall health and clear vision. Tears keep the surfaces of your eyes moist, remove debris, and protect your eyes from bacteria and other infections. When you have chronic dry eye, your eyes don’t produce enough tears to perform these tasks. You can also get chronic dry eye if you produce tears that don’t remain in your eyes long enough to protect it because they evaporate too quickly. 

Chronic dry eye can make your eyes vulnerable to the effects of dust and other irritants that remain in your eyes. Symptoms include a gritty feeling in your eyes, light sensitivity, and blurry vision. If left untreated, chronic dry eye can result in pain, ulcers, and scars on your corneas. Chronic dry eye occurs more often among middle-aged and older people, and it affects women about twice as often as men.

If you’re experiencing chronic dry eye, identifying the cause of your condition is key to finding the right treatment. Optometrists Eugene Wolchuck, MD, and Stephen Wolchuk, MD, of Wolchuck Eye Associates in Jacksonville, Florida uses a wide range of diagnostic tools to identify the cause of your symptoms. With a comprehensive eye exam, Dr. Wolchuk can also determine whether allergies or other underlying medical conditions are contributing to your symptoms. Based on the cause of your chronic dry eye, Dr. Wolchuk will recommend treatments that can provide relief and protect your eyes from damage. 

You don’t have to suffer from the discomfort of chronic dry eye. Read on to find out about proven treatments for dealing with this condition. Depending on the cause of your chronic dry eye, Dr. Wolchuk may advise one or more of these approaches. 

Artificial tears

Artificial tears, or lubricating eye drops, can relieve mild cases of chronic dry eye that result from temporary causes, such as computer use and reading, or environmental issues, such as air conditioning or heat. 

Your tears include three layers: the outside oily layer, the middle watery layer, and the inner mucus layer. Together, the three layers make up your tear film. Artificial tears work by supplementing your natural tears with some of the same elements contained in your tears. 

You can purchase many brands of artificial tears without a prescription. They’re available as eye drops, ointments, and gels. 

Allergy eye drops

Allergy eye drops can relieve symptoms of chronic dry eye caused by eye allergies. Eye allergies can be triggered by smoke, mold, pollen, dust, chemicals, and other factors. Allergy eye drops exist as over-the-counter and prescription medications. 

Allergy eye drops vary according to the symptoms they treat. Some may relieve redness and irritation, while others may treat itching or provide lubrication. If you have chronic dry eye related to allergies, Dr. Wolchuk may recommend oral antihistamines or decongestant eye drops, which constrict blood vessels to control redness. Treatments may also include rinses to flush out allergens or lubricants to soothe irritated eyes. 

Prescription medications

You may benefit from prescription medications for chronic dry eye if over-the-counter options don’t provide relief. Prescription medications are administered as pills or eye drops. Most work by reducing eyelid inflammation. Eyelid inflammation can prevent oil from mixing with your tear film. When your tear film doesn’t have adequate oil, your tears can evaporate too quickly. 

You may also benefit from a daily prescription insert placed between your lower eyelid and your eyeball. The insert, which resembles a clear grain of rice, releases a lubricating solution as it slowly dissolves through the day. 

Underlying health conditions

If you have an underlying health condition, you may improve or resolve your chronic dry eye symptoms by treating the issue. Some health issues that can interfere with normal tear production include:

In some cases, medications used to treat high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, and other conditions, can cause chronic dry eye. The condition can also occur as a side effect of antihistamines, decongestants, and hormone replacement therapy. In these cases, you should consult your physician about switching to a medication that doesn’t interfere with normal tear production. 

If you have chronic dry eye or want to see if you do, book an appointment online or over the phone with Wolchuk Eye Associates today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Reduce Your Risk for Macular Degeneration

If you learned you might lose your vision, you’d do anything to save it — and here’s your chance. If you have any of the controllable risk factors for macular degeneration, you can take steps now to preserve your sight.

Understanding Eye Pressure

Increased eye pressure plays a major role in most types of glaucoma. The problem is, most people don’t know what eye pressure is — or how often they need to have it checked. This brief review will give you all the information you need to know.

What Causes Flashers and Floaters?

You’re not just seeing things. Those spots and flashes of light dancing across your vision are a fairly common visual disturbance, and they have a name. But what’s causing them? Explore a few of the reasons behind flashers and floaters.

Common Vision Problems Facing Seniors

You probably aren’t surprised to learn that your risk of vision problems increases as you get older. But most common vision problems facing seniors can be treated, slowing down progressive damage to your eye and protecting your vision.

Choosing the Right Frames for Your Face

When you wear glasses, they become as much a part of your face as your eyes, nose, and mouth. And the perfect pair can play up your best features. Check out these practical tips for choosing the right frames for your face.

Coping With Chronic Dry Eye

When you're coping with dry eyes, you can feel worn out and emotionally frustrated, wanting to cry for more reason than one. Chronic dry eyes aren't just uncomfortable; they can also cause damage. Learn more about dealing with chronic dry eyes.