We field many FAQs about dry eye, a common syndrome that affects an estimated 30 million people or more in this country, with women experiencing it at a rate of 2 to 1 compared to men. At Redding Eye Care Center, our Redding optometry team diagnoses and treats this broad condition frequently.
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome happens when the tear film normally covering your eye becomes insufficient—either due to lack of tear quality, lack of tear quantity, or both. The tear film is normally there to moisturize and protect your delicate eyes, and when this becomes impaired, extremely bothersome symptoms can develop, including:
- Red, itchy, and dry eyes
- Pain or burning in the eyes
- The feeling of something gritty, like sand, in the eyes
- Blurry vision and photosensitivity
- Watery discharge may develop, but this fluid is not high quality like normal tears and does adequately compensate for the loss of tear film
- Decreased tolerance to contact lens use
What Are The Causes of Dry Eye?
Many different factors could explain why your eyes are so dry and uncomfortable. Common causes include:
- Environmental triggers: exposure and/or allergy to smoke, dry air, cosmetics, medications, pet dander, mold, mildew, pollen, etc.
- Autoimmune disorders, like lupus and Sjogren’s syndrome
- Damage or disease affecting tear glands, including Meibomian gland dysfunction or orbital blow
- Hormonal changes (especially menopause)
How Is Dry Eye Syndrome Diagnosed?
Diagnosis is based on the examination of internal and external structures of your eyes, vision, family and medical history assessment, and lab work as indicated.
How Can an Optometrist in Redding Relieve My Dry Eyes?
Our optometrist in Redding can offer supportive treatment to relieve dry eye symptoms. These include medicated eye drops that restore moisture or reduce inflammation, as well as lifestyle recommendations (e.g., avoid known eye irritants, modify or supplement diet).
Severe cases of dry eye may require the implantation of small “plugs” which keep tears on the surface of the eye. Our optometrist can provide important pre- and post-operative care for this treatment.
Can I Wear Contacts With Dry Eye?
This depends. Most people with dry eye feel more comfortable wearing eyeglasses since standard contact lenses can worsen symptoms. However, certain types of hard-to-fit contact lenses may feel more comfortable for someone with dry eye. This includes scleral lenses, which are large-diameter lenses that extend past the corneas and rest on the white parts of your eyes.
Are Your Eyes Dry? See Our Redding Optometrist for Relief
If you think you have dry eye or want to learn more about our other services, contact Redding Eye Care Center today at (530) 222-1233 to schedule an appointment with our optometrist, Dr. Michael Young.