Are you having problems with your eyes? Perhaps the issue is a scratchy or stinging sensation that won’t go away. It could be a feeling like dirt or debris is in your eye.
You likely have a condition called dry eye. Our board-certified ophthalmologists with Wolchok Eye Associates, PA, treat many cases of dry eyes. We relieve your discomfort.
What is dry eye?
Your eyes need constant moisture to function properly. Just like the rest of your body, they need to stay hydrated — in this case, for you to have clear vision.
The moisture in your eyes comes from tears. These tears coat your eyes and stay there rather than run down your face when you cry. The tears contain water, special oils, mucus, and antibodies that help protect you from infections. Glands near your eyes keep the moisture at the correct level.
If you’re diagnosed with dry eye, you don’t have enough tears coating your eyes for them to feel comfortable, or else your tears aren’t functioning. Dry eye is a common eye ailment. We can find a treatment that works so your eyes don’t hurt, burn, or feel scratchy.
Why do I have dry eye?
There are several causes of dry eye. Following are four of the main reasons for this common complaint.
Just as the rest of your body changes as you age, your eyes change too. Aging is the main reason for dry eye. Well over half of people older than 65 have some problems with dry eyes.
Glands around your eyes release oils that slow your tear evaporation. The aging process can sometimes block the glands to the point where you don’t have enough tear coverage because of the lack of oils.
Hormonal changes affecting women in menopause
As a woman, your hormones fluctuate dramatically at menopause. Your female reproductive hormones affect the glands that produce oils for your tears.
As you enter menopause, you produce less of several sex hormones. One of those is androgen. This hormone is tied to oil production and helps to maintain the immune system in your eyes. Less androgen provides fewer essential oils for your eyes, which results in dry eyes.
If you have an autoimmune disorder such as lupus or Sjogren syndrome, you’re more at risk for dry eye than people who don’t have it. The same is true if you have diabetes or a thyroid condition. Autoimmune conditions cause inflammation that can harm your tear glands.
Medicine is supposed to help you, right? If you take medication for allergies, depression, or high blood pressure, it could be causing your dry eye. Ask your doctor if you can switch medications to see if that’s the problem.
There are some other causes of dry eye. Sometimes contact lenses cause issues, along with living in a very windy place or even being in a dry environment indoors for long periods.
We get to the root of your dry eye condition and develop a plan to remedy it. Prescription eye drops, artificial tears, plugs to maintain your tears, and other solutions help to make you comfortable. We give you tips on preventing dry eyes in the future.
Call Wolchok Eye Associates, PA, today or book an appointment through our online portal. We help you maintain your eye health.