When you feel like your eyes can’t retain moisture and blinking doesn’t help, you may be experiencing chronic dry eye disease. It can irritate, leading to discomfort, trouble when wearing contact lenses, or pain.
Dry, itchy eyes can stem from various causes, including natural, environmental, or chemical. At Evolutionary Eye Care, we utilize the most up-to-date diagnostic tools to identify the causes of your dry eye, determine which type you have, and use cutting-edge treatments to restore hydration to your eyes.
What Is Dry Eye?
Dry eye disease is an increasingly common eye condition, with symptoms including:
- Stinging or scratching sensations
- Light sensitivity
- Watery eyes
- Mucus near the eye
- Blurry vision
It all begins with a problem with your tears. Your tear film provides lubrication to the eye, which keeps them comfortable, reduces the risk of infection, and keeps your vision clearer.
Most commonly, dry eye develops because not enough tears are produced, or the tears are of low quality. Your tears are made of 3 layers: the top oil layer, the middle water layer, and the bottom mucus layer. A dysfunction in these layers can lead to dry eye symptoms.
Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye
When your tear glands, known as your lacrimal glands, don’t produce enough tears to moisten the eye, it leads to aqueous deficient dry eye. Typically, this form of dry eye results from autoimmune conditions, certain eye conditions, really arid environments, or deficiencies in vitamin A or omega-3.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Evaporative dry eye, resulting from meibomian gland dysfunction, is the more common form of dry eye disease. Characterized by poor-quality tears, this dry eye is caused by blockages in the oil glands that produce the top layer of the tear film.
The meibomian glands control the oil that prevents tears from evaporating too quickly. If these glands have a problem, your eyes lose the lubrication that maintains their comfort and protection.
What Are the Risk Factors of Dry Eye?
Some people are more likely to experience symptoms of dry eye than others. It’s more common among older adults and those who are going through hormonal changes, but other conditions can contribute to dry eye, including:
- Exposure to dry environments
- Eye surgery
- Contact lens wear
- Insufficient blinking
- Thyroid conditions
- Some medications
- Digital eye strain
During a comprehensive eye exam, our doctors can examine the tear film and evaluate your ocular structures to determine whether your dry eye results from meibomian gland dysfunction or a symptom of something else.
Dry Eye Treatment
The various causes of dry eye disease make each patient’s experience unique. Evolutionary Eye Care uses the most advanced treatment options to help as many people as possible.
We recommend Equinox Low-Level Light Treatment (LLLT) to ease symptoms from dry eyes and meibomian gland dysfunction. LLLT uses LED lights to gently warm the eyelids, which causes the meibomian glands to unclog and release needed oils to keep your eyes feeling healthy and comfortable.
Other Common Dry Eye Treatments
Our optometry team can recommend supportive treatments to use at home, including:
- Artificial tears
- Warm compresses
- Lifestyle changes
- Nutritional supplements
These treatments can offer temporary relief while we address the root cause of your dry eye symptoms.
Don’t Suffer Through Life with Uncomfortable Dry Eyes
Dry eyes may be widespread, but that doesn’t mean you must live with them. Schedule an appointment with the team at Evolutionary Eye Care to discuss your dry eye symptoms, get a thorough eye exam, and explore the treatments that can sustainably relieve your dry eye.
We have three locations in Texas to serve you: Webster, Sugar Land, and Downtown Houston.