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What Causes Dry Eye and What Are My Treatment Options?

Dry eye is an eye condition that is exactly what it sounds like it is. It’s the feeling that your eyes are dry and irritated. It’s a common condition, affecting about 26 million Americans. Dry eye goes by many different names including dry eye syndrome and dry eye disease.

Common dry eye symptoms include:

Symptoms can come on sporadically in different environments such as dry and windy conditions outside or inside with indoor air conditioning or heating systems, which can decrease humidity. Or dry eye can be a chronic condition, which is more common in older people. In fact, about 5 million people in the United States over age 50 have chronic dry eye syndrome. Many of our patients here at Suburban Eye Associates come in with common symptoms, and our team of professionals is ready to help in Philadelphia, Jenkintown or Huntingdon Valley, PA. 

What causes dry eyes?

Tears are important to keep your eyes lubricated and healthy. Poor quality tears or not enough tears are the two main reasons for dry eyes. 

Tears are made up of water, oil, and mucus.  In some cases, tears don’t have enough water to keep the surface of your eyes moist. In other cases, your tears are deficient in oil, which weighs down the tears and keeps the water from evaporating too quickly.

Dry eye is more common among women and, as mentioned above, older people. Other factors that contribute to dry eye include:

Dry eye treatment options

The first step in addressing dry eye symptoms is to boost the humidity with a humidifier in the places you spend the most time. Other simple treatments that may help are nutritional supplements that help increase tear production, drinking plenty of water, and using over-the-counter lubricating eye drops.  

If these options don’t provide the relief you need from chronic dry eye, we at Suburban Eye Associates may be able to help. Our providers offer several treatment options, including:

Prescription medications

If over-the-counter eye drops don’t work, prescription medication or eye drops may be more effective. Our doctors review the medications you’re taking to make sure there are no adverse interactions.

Temporary punctal occlusion

In this procedure, your doctor places temporary plugs to block your tear duct drains so that the moisture and tears stay in your eyes to keep them lubricated. If this procedure works, your provider may recommend permanent plugs.

Other Treatments

We have several options to treat your dry eye, and help your eyes to feel more comfortable. Several procedures are done in-office, and quickly. We will be able to work with you when you come in for a visit.

Are your eyes itchy and dry? Find out more about dry eye treatments by calling us at Suburban Eye Associates in Philadelphia, Jenkintown or Huntingdon Valley, PA, or make an appointment online.

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