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Dry Eye Disease and Treatment

Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic condition that develops when your eyes do not produce and maintain enough tears to keep the eye’s surface lubricated resulting in multiple symptoms that range from person to person. This can be due to a reduction in tear production or increased tear evaporation from a lack of lipid in the tears that stem from oil glands in the eyelids. The effects can range from minor dryness and discomfort to pain, blurred vision and frequent infections.

Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome can vary depending on the severity of the condition but can include:

  • Dry, itchy eyes
  • Burning or stinging
  • Irritation
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Pain
  • Foreign body sensation

The main function of tears is to maintain the health of the cornea of your eye by washing away foreign matter and ensuring that the surface of your eye remains moist, smooth and clear. Tears also rinse away dust particles from your eyes and contain enzymes that protect your eyes from bacteria that can cause infections. Dry eyes is a condition that develops when the amount of tears produced is not sufficient to maintain the moisture balance in your eye. This can result in that scratchy sensation, a continuous feeling of dryness, stinging and a sensation of a foreign body in your eye. Ironically in an effort to fight off the condition, dry eyes can cause you to produce excessive tears, which is why some people experience watery eyes.

Causes of Dry Eye Disease

Dry eyes can occur naturally as a result of aging or hormonal changes, typically in women who are pregnant, taking oral contraceptives or going through menopause. In fact, women over 50 have a 50% greater risk of dry eye disease than men do of the same age. It can also result from taking certain medications that reduce tear production such as antihistamines, blood pressure medications and antidepressants. Environmental factors can also play a role in drying out the eyes and DED is common in areas where the climate is dry, dusty and windy. Home air conditioners or heating systems and excessive time spent staring at a computer or television screen can also dry out eyes and exacerbate symptoms due to the lack of blinking while staring at our screens.

Individuals that suffer from certain medical conditions such as diabetes, blepharitis, lupus, arthritis and thyroid problems are more vulnerable to developing DED. Other causes can be due to eye surgery including LASIK, certain conditions in which the eyelids don’t close properly or extended contact lens use.

Diagnosis of Dry Eye Disease

Typically, dry eye disease can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam and a description of your symptoms. On some occasions the Richardson eye doctor might decide to do a test that measures how quickly your tears evaporate from the surface of your eye. By instilling a simple dye called fluorescein (much like food coloring) the Richardson eye doctor is able to watch and count how long it takes the tears to start to break up after they’ve asked you to hold your eyes open after a blink. This is called TBUT or a Tear Break Up Time test. A low TBUT generally indicates a lipid (aka oil) deficiency in the tears resulting from oil glands in the eyelids not functioning properly. In another type of test, called a Schirmer test, a strip of filter paper is placed under the lid of the eye and you will be asked to close your eye for five minutes. Following the test the amount of moisture on the strip will be measured. Schirmer tests are performed less frequently than a TBUT test.

Richardson Dry Eyes Treatment

There are many treatment options for dry eyes which are highly dependant upon the cause and severity of the condition. Many mild forms of DED can be alleviated using artificial tears or lubricant eye drops to make up for the lack of natural tears usually produced by your eyes. If over-the-counter drops don’t alleviate your symptoms, your doctor might prescribe prescription drops that actually stimulate tear production or steroids for short-term relief.

More severe cases of dry eyes might be treated with a punctal insert which is a tiny insert containing a slow-release lubricating substance that is placed inside the lower eyelid. Since DED is often related to eyelid inflammation known as blepharitis your doctor may prescribe a heated hot compress mask, specialty eyelid scrubs and sometimes an antibiotic ointment. Finally, punctal plugs might be recommended for severe cases which would be inserted into the tear ducts to reduce the tear drainage in your eyes to keep them from drying out.

If the cause of your dry eyes is something external or environmental, eliminating that cause may solve the problem and resolve the symptoms. Avoid dry environments, hair dryers, heaters and fans, (particularly directed toward the eyes) and smoky environments and wear eye protection such as wrap around glasses or goggles when in dusty or windy areas. Use a humidifier to add moisture to dry indoor air. If working on computer or watching television, make sure to blink purposefully as our natural tendency is to reduce our blink rate when staring at a screen. Also avoid rubbing your eyes as this can further irritate them. Staying hydrated by drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day can also help.

In cases where discontinuation or switching to different medications is possible this can eradicate symptoms. Your Richardson eye doctor may also recommend that you limit or refrain from contact lens use for a certain amount of time or switch to a different brand or type of contact lens which will reduce dehydration.

Dry eye disease won’t have a permanent effect on your vision, but there is no reason to endure dry, itchy and uncomfortable eyes, especially since there are so many treatment options to increase moisture and comfort. It’s also important to realize that this is a chronic disease that needs consistent treatment. Your Richardson eye doctor will work with you to create a long term strategy to keep your eyes as comfortable as possible.

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3501 Custer Parkway, Suite 105
Richardson, TX 75080

Office Details

3501 Custer Parkway, Suite 105
Richardson, TX 75080
  • 8:30 AM - 6:00 PM
  • 8:30 AM - 6:00 PM
  • 8:30 AM - 6:00 PM
  • 8:30 AM - 6:00 PM
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Our Reviews

The staff is great and the exam was very thorough.
18 hours ago
5
- Angel R.
eye doctor's office
Very friendly knowledgeable and helpful staff. I was impressed with their high level of expertise and commitment to the customer. Thank you for taking the time to help me with the exam and for teaching a first-timer about contact lenses.
19 hours ago
5
- Nathan L.
eye doctor's office
Dr. Carter and the crew at TSO are phenomenal! I have been going here for two years now and have been impressed with their professionalism and service! Ninoska is one of the outstanding team members that always makes my visit exceptional! Go and SEE them! . . Get it? SEE them?
2 days ago
5
- Zach M.
eye doctor's office
Great experience! Doctor took her time explained everything and answered all of my questions. Office staff is kind and helpful. This is my second visit to this office. I will return next year.
1 week ago
5
- Kimberley R.
eye doctor's office
This place is awesome!!! Such great people that really care about you. They make you truly feel like family.
2 weeks ago
5
- David S.
eye doctor's office
This is a breath of fresh air. Great atmosphere and very friendly. I like that the doctor was very attentive to sharing the importance of eye exams and health. I will refer my friends.
2 weeks ago
5
- Kathy H.
eye doctor's office
Being someone who is not a fan of doctor visits of any kind. I really enjoyed this practice. The ladies there are awesome! The office is clean and well maintained. They made me feel welcomed immediately and made the appointment and shopping for new eye wear actually fun!
2 weeks ago
5
- N B.
eye doctor's office

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If you do not see your plan listed here, please give us a call and we would be happy to assist you. Our eye care staff is also always available to answer any questions regarding your benefits.

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