Dry Eye Disease
Dry Eye Treatment in Hermitage & Greenville PA
Mercer County Dry Eye Treatment Specialists
The Valley Eye Center offers dry eye treatment in Hermitage and Greenville PA. Over ten million people in the United States suffer from dry eye. This inflammatory eye disease is characterized by mild to severe discomfort, contact lens intolerance, red, itchy, and watery eyes, and instances of blurred vision or difficulty reading, watching television, working at a computer, or driving.
What Are Dry Eyes?
Dry eye is a condition brought on by insufficient or poor quality tears. The human eye relies on tear film to provide consistent lubrication and moisture for optimal vision, comfort, and protection from infection. Dry eye is the result of an imbalance or deficiency in the special glands located around the eye responsible for tear production and drainage.
What Causes Dry Eyes
Tear production naturally diminishes as we get older. Symptoms of dry eye are very common among people over the age of 65. Among other factors that can exacerbate the condition are:
Reduced Blink Frequency – People with reduced blink frequency, specifically those that work a lot on computers or perform very detailed technical work, are more vulnerable to dry eye.
Environmental Factors – Environmental factors such as exposure to smoke, wind, dry climates or dry air, can increase tear evaporation and bring on symptoms of dry eye.
Medications – Anything from common over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines to prescription antidepressants and blood pressure medications can reduce tear production.
Hormonal Changes – Women are very susceptible to dry eye due to hormonal changes caused by the use of oral contraceptives, pregnancy, or menopause.
Medical Conditions – Anyone with conditions like diabetes, thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, skin disorders, or inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis) or surfaces of the eye can develop dry eye.
Long Term Use of Contact Lenses – Symptoms of dry eyes are more pronounced in those that wear (perhaps overwear) contact lenses due to the evaporation of moisture.
What Are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?
Symptoms of dry eyes can consist of redness, burning, grittiness, tired eyes, excessive tearing, blurry vision, and light sensitivity. People with excessive tearing are sometimes perplexed by a dry eye diagnosis. The excessive tears running down your face are actually the eye’s natural response to decreased tear production or tears that evaporate too quickly from the eyes. These tears are more or less a distress signal sent from the eye to the nervous system for emergency lubrication.
However, these are poor quality tears without the same rich makeup and lubricating qualities of normal tears. They lack the oil, water, and mucus of productive tears necessary to protect and nourish the front surface of the eye.
Treatment of Dry Eyes
The ophthalmologists at the Hermitage and Greenville Valley Eye Center take a multi-tiered approach to dry eye treatment. This approach addresses not just tear production but quality, distribution, drainage, and maintenance.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for dry eye. However, by managing the condition, we can hopefully alleviate symptoms and enhance the lives of those that suffer from this condition. This will require frequent appointments. Our goal is to establish a therapeutic relationship where progress is continuously monitored and treatment is adjusted accordingly.
Possible symptom management treatment may include:
- Prescription Eye Drops to improve tear production.
- Prescribed Lid Hygiene Therapy to better control inflammation.
- Collagen or Silicone Punctal Plugs for punctal occlusion if tear drain ducts need to be temporarily closed to increase tear production.
- Lipiflow – a medical device using heat and pressure on eyelids to unblock glands and prevent tear evaporation.
We will also discuss other potentially effective medications or nutritional supplements such as Omega-3 fish oil caplets reported to be beneficial for dry eyes.
Call us today at (724) 347-5665 if you’re looking for dry eye treatment in Hermitage or Greenville, PA.