You need a steady production of tears to keep your eyes healthy. Dry eyes aren’t just uncomfortable — they can cause lasting damage. Thankfully, they’re easily treatable. Experienced ophthalmologist Omar Shakir, MD, MBA, can help you find solutions at Coastal Eye Surgeons in Greenwich, Connecticut. Dr. Shakir targets the underlying cause of your dry eyes and helps restore moisture with punctal plugs and medication. Schedule an appointment online or call the practice today.
Dry eyes are a condition when your eyes don’t receive the moisture they need. It could mean that you don’t produce enough tears. You may also develop dry eyes if your tears are low-quality, and evaporate too quickly so they don’t cover your eye’s surface.
Your tears contain a complex mixture of water, oil, and mucus that nourish your eyes and protect them from infection. Inadequate tear production can lead to both regular discomfort and long-term, serious eye problems.
Signs that you have dry eyes include:
One surprising symptom of dry eye syndrome is that your eyes are excessively wet but still feel irritated. Your eyes sometimes respond to dryness by producing lots of watery tears.
Don’t ignore dry eyes. Treatment can relieve your symptoms and prevent damage.
There are many causes of dry eyes. Factors that can affect tear production or quality include:
It’s normal to produce fewer tears as you get older. Tear production declines starting around age 50, and most people age 65 and older have some degree of dry eyes.
Women may develop dry eyes due to the hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy, birth control, or menopause.
It’s common to develop dry eyes if you have irritation and inflammation of the eyelids. You may also develop dry eyes if there’s something wrong with your contact lenses.
Dry eyes are a symptom of diseases including diabetes, thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
If you work on a computer or spend lots of time looking at your smartphone or tablet, you blink less often, which causes your tears to evaporate at a higher rate.
Certain antihistamines, antidepressants, decongestants, and blood pressure medications can decrease your tear production.
Your eyes may dry out in response to wind, smoke, or air conditioning.
Dr. Shakir helps pinpoint the cause of your dry eyes to develop a treatment plan.
Many cases of dry eyes improve when you address the underlying cause. For example, you may switch to an alternative medication that doesn’t cause dry eyes as a side effect. Or, you may need to change your habits, like remembering to blink when you work on the computer.
You may also need treatment that directly restores moisture to your eyes, especially if your dry eyes are related to aging or a chronic condition. If you have mild dry eyes, you may only need over-the-counter lubricating eye drops
To treat moderate to severe dry eyes, Dr. Shakir offers the latest in medications. These include prescription eye drops, which can reduce the inflammation in your eye and stimulate tear production. He also offers punctal plugs, which are small, sterile devices that he inserts into your tear duct so that tears remain in your eyes for a longer period.
For help treating dry eyes, schedule an appointment at Coastal Eye Surgeons online or over the phone.