by Tracy M. Putnam, O.D.
Along with dry winter weather in Michigan come some irritating eye issues. Can't stop blinking, rubbing and reaching for artificial tear drops for relief? Do your eyes burn, itch, or feel sandy and gritty? Congratulations, you’ve got dry eyes and you are not alone.Millions of Americans experience dry eyes. However, only a small percentage seek medical advice on how to best combat this persistent issue.
What is causing my dry eye?
Anything and everything! Dry eye can be caused by allergies, medications, hormone changes, medical conditions, contact lens use and many other factors.
What eye drop to choose?
The eye care aisle at the store can be a daunting place. With so many options for drops, it’s difficult to know if you’re making the right choice. Human tears are made up of three layers; an oily layer, a watery layer, and a mucous layer. Dry eye symptoms occur when there is a breakdown or deficiency with any of these layers. Because the content of each layer is unique, it is important to determine which one is lacking before you can be sure which type of artificial tear will be most helpful. This can be easily determined with a few diagnostic tests at your eye doctor’s office.
If my eyes are dry, why do they water constantly?
This is a question that comes up frequently. Because your tears are deficient, your brain overcompensates by flooding your eyes with the wrong type of tears to try and help the dryness. The problem is, these are not the tears you need, so they simply leak out with no improvement in dry eye symptoms.
Treatment beyond artificial tears.
Many times, artificial tears are a great solution, but there are also other options to consider. Some stubborn cases of dry eyes may need a little extra treatment. If your eyes are considerably dry, you may require a course of prescription medications. Recently, some new dry eye medications have become available and are showing promising results. In addition, eyelid hygiene and the use of omega-3 are both helpful with certain types of dry eye. Identifying the underlying cause is easily the most important step in formulating a customized plan for some much needed dry eye relief.
Make an appointment with Dr. Putnam today to discuss your dry eye symptoms – 517.337.1668.