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"Dry eye" may not sound serious, but if you're currently experiencing irritation, vision problems and other distressing symptoms, you know all too well how much it can interfere with your life. It's only natural that you'd be seeking dry eye information and solutions, so here are some answers to frequently asked questions on the subject from your friends at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians.
What is tear film? A healthy, moisturized eye is protected by tears that issue from your tear glands. These tears coat the front of the eye in a multi-layered tear film consisting of water, lipids (oils) and mucous.
What are the medical causes of dry eye? Dry eye occurs when you don't make enough tears, or when the tears you make don't contain the right balance of ingredients. Autoimmune diseases, dehydrating medications, eyelid abnormalities, tear gland failure and neurological conditions that prevent normal blinking can all cause dry eye. Dry eye is also associated with reduced tear production due to aging.
What else can cause dry eye? Environmental and lifestyle issues can all play a role in dry eye. Long hours of computer use, for instance, can cause you to blink too infrequently to generate tears. Ceiling fans, smoke and windy conditions can dry out your eyes as well.
What are the symptoms of dry eye? Dry eye typically produces redness, itching, blurred vision and a gritty or "foreign body" feeling in the eye. You may also notice excess mucous from the eye, light sensitivity and trouble wearing contacts or driving. You may even experience watery eyes as a side effect of the irritation.
How seriously should I take this problem? Dry eye needs to be corrected, not ignored or lived with. Chronic dryness leaves the eye open to infections, damage from foreign bodies, and possible corneal scratches or ulcers.
How do you diagnose a case of dry eye syndrome? Our optometry team will examine your tear film composition and tear production levels to see whether your dry eye is based on a medical issue. We will also discuss your health history, lifestyle and any medications you may be taking.
What treatment options are available? Our dry eye treatment in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara typically includes eye drops for immediate relief of acute symptoms. Long-term solutions and suggestions may include having your doctor change your medications, limiting ceiling fan use, modifying your computer use habits and treating underlying tear gland problems.
Silicon Valley Eye Physicians can do more than just provide answers to your questions -- we can also provide the answers to your dry eye condition itself. We're happy to offer dry eye treatment in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, so if you think your eyes might need a little help maintaining their moisture, call our office in either city today for an appointment!