Dry Eye

An Explanation from Our Optometrists in Conway

Dry eye is an all-too-common affliction, but that doesn’t mean that it should be dismissed or minimized as a concern. If your eyes fail to get the moisture they regularly require, you may suffer from irritation, redness, infections, or even permanent eye damage. Here at Vaught Eye Associates, our optometrists in Conway wants to make sure you know how to recognize the common causes and symptoms, as well as understanding the many possible remedies available to relieve your condition.

Eyes are normally lubricated with a thin film of tears every time an individual blinks. The tear fluid consists of separate layers of water, oil, and mucus. If the balance of these three components is even slightly abnormal, dry eyes may result. In most cases it is the water layer that proves insufficient, and the resulting dehydration of the eyes is known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca. People also tend to produce less tear fluid with age, causing many to experience dry eye once they reach their 60s.

A problem with the mechanics of the eye may also allow your eyes to dry out. For instance, damaged tear ducts may be unable to produce the proper amount of tear fluid to keep the eyes lubricated, or the eyelid itself may turn inward or outward in a way that interferes with normal blinking. People who have suffered from a stroke or Bell’s palsy may be unable to blink an eye or even keep it closed naturally. People who stare at computer monitors for hours on end, or who sleep with the air conditioner or ceiling fan blowing a breeze into their face, may suffer from dry eye. Last but not least, dry eye may stem from chronic mucous membrane dryness. Certain medications, thyroid disorders, and autoimmune diseases such rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogrens syndrome can all cause this problem.

Our Eye Doctors Can Help

Dry eye should be taken seriously. Not only does it produce chronic stinging, burning, redness and blurred vision, but in the long run it can expose the eye to real danger. For instance, infections can find it easier to invade a dry eye, while the inability to wash away grit could allow for permanent scarring of the corneal surface. The good news is that a variety of treatment methods, including simple home remedies, can help you control your condition.

Diagnosis of any eye condition begins with a proper eye exam, so bring your dry eyes to Vaught Eye Associates. One of our eye doctors will examine the current state of your eyes, listen to your description of symptoms, and test your tear flow. Idiopathic causes often respond to self care. We may recommend artificial tears you can use to moisten your eyes, as well as lifestyle changes such as sleeping without air conditioning or taking breaks from computer work. If an underlying medical condition causes your dry eye, we will refer you to the appropriate specialist. We can help your eyes feel and function at their best!