Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you feel a stinging or burning sensation in your eyes, you could be suffering from dry eye disease. Identifying the root cause of your dry eye is crucial to getting the treatment you need to relieve discomfort. At Giles Eye Care in Portland, ME, our skilled eye care professionals have the expertise and technology to properly diagnose and treat dry eye disease.
What is dry eye?
Dry eye disease is a condition where you don’t produce enough tears or your tears evaporate too quickly. Dry eye causes symptoms similar to those of allergies, which is why it is often misdiagnosed. Tears help you see clearly, lubricate your eyes, and protect against infection, so proper tear production and drainage are critical to maintaining optimal eye health and vision.
What causes dry eye?
The most common reason people develop dry eye is meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). MGD is an inflammatory disorder of the meibomian glands in your eyelids, which produce lipids that coat your tears to prevent them from evaporating too quickly. When these glands become blocked or clogged with oil, it causes dry eye syndrome.
Other causes of dry eye include:
- Hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, use of oral contraceptives, and menopause
- Certain medications such as antihistamines and decongestants
- Certain diseases and conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, arthritis, diabetes, or thyroid problems
- Exposure to cold, smoke, and dry climates
Activities like driving, reading, computer use, or watching TV cause you to blink less often, and blinking less can also cause dry eye.
What are the symptoms of dry eye?
The most obvious symptom of dry eye syndrome is a burning sensation in the eyes. Other symptoms include:
- Stinging or itching eyes
- A scratchy or sandy feeling in your eyes
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Eye pain or redness
- Stringy mucus or discharge from your eyes
- Fluctuating vision
- Watery eyes
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to make an appointment with your optometrist.
How is dry eye diagnosed?
During a comprehensive eye exam at Giles Eye Care, your eye doctor will perform a series of tests to diagnose dry eye syndrome. Tests may include evaluating your tear quality, volume, evaporation rate, and chemical composition. After the exam, your doctor will develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs with the goal of minimizing discomfort and dryness.
How do you treat dry eye syndrome?
Treatment for dry eye depends on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause(s). Dry eye can be temporary or chronic. If your dry eye is chronic, our optometrist can recommend treatments to help you maintain optimal eye health, reduce dryness and discomfort, and prevent vision impairment.
Common treatments for dry eye include:
- Prescription eye drops to reduce inflammation
- Treating oil glands
- Blinking exercises or proper eyelid hygiene
If an infection is causing your dry eye symptoms, your eye doctor may also prescribe low-dose antibiotics. In more serious cases where other treatments are ineffective, surgery or therapy may be recommended.
Schedule an appointment at Giles Eye Care
With proper care from an experienced professional, dry eye syndrome can be managed effectively so that you can enjoy comfortable vision. If you suffer from dry eye, our experts are here to help you determine the underlying cause and find lasting relief. Schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam at our office today.