Do your eyes ever feel dry or gritty as if there is sand or dust in them? Do you experience blurry, fluctuating vision or light sensitivity? Are you noticing a stinging or burning sensation with your eyes or discomfort when when contact lenses? If so, you may have dry eye disease.
July is National Dry Eye Awareness Month and it is estimated that around thirty percent of Canadians experience ocular symptoms associated with dry eyes. However, with our dry climate and cold winters here in Calgary we may be more susceptible than most to experiencing problems with dry eyes.
In a healthy eye, tears continuously bathe the surface of the eye (cornea). With every blink, tears flow across the cornea. This constant lubrication nourishes the cells of the outer surface and helps protect the eye from dust, smoke, and wind. Tears also improve vision by helping to focus light. Dry eye disease occurs when the quality or quantity of tears is compromised leading the signs and symptoms of dry eyes.
Dry eye has many causes, which often overlap and interact. It can occur as a result of the normal aging process, hormonal changes, inflammatory health problems such as arthritis, improper blinking or even from medications such as antihistamines, oral contraceptives or antidepressants. Dry eye can also be a consequence of environmental triggers, and can be caused by or exacerbated by eye surgery, computer use, contact lens use, or low humidity.
The good news is that with proper care, dry eye can be managed and treated. But people who experience symptoms should see an eye doctor to rule out an underlying medical condition. In rare cases, dry eye can lead to permanent visual impairment or even blindness.
Recent advances show promise in prescription eyes drops that can help reverse inflammation often associated with dry eyes. New in-office procedures are also being developed to improve the functioning of the eyelid glands that produce oil for tears. One such treatment is with the iLux device that we have here at Eyedeology to treat blocked meibomian glands in the eyelids which is a leading cause of dry eye.
If your quality of life is impacted by symptoms of dry eyes, don’t continue to suffer. Make an appointment for a dry eye assessment so that we can help you improve your vision and ocular health.
Book a dry eye assessment today so we can help improve your quality of life.