Dry Eye Treatment in Columbia
At Dorothy Park & Associates, serving Columbia and the surrounding area, patients are able to get the eye care they need to combat conditions such as dry eye. An optometry specialist like one at this eye care center has the potential to heal through various treatments and procedures as well as patient education.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is a condition that occurs when a patient has insufficient tears, whether the tears are inadequate or are of poor quality. Tears are necessary to keep the eye healthy since they reduce the risk of infection and keep foreign matter out of the eye. They lubricate the eye. This condition is a chronic condition for some and tends to arise in older adults.
Causes of Dry Eye
Dry eye can be caused by environmental conditions. Some people don't produce enough tears. Issues with the composition of tears can cause dry eye as well. The natural aging process leads to dry eye for many. This is evident by the fact that a majority of people who have dry eye are people who are over the age of 65. Hormones play a role in the onset of dry eye. Women experience dry eye frequently than men due to hormone changes during pregnancy and menopause and from the use of oral contraceptives. Medications like hypertension drugs and antidepressants may reduce the number of tears produced. Certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid problems contribute to dry eye.
Diagnosing Dry Eye
Usually, the process starts with a patient discussing their symptoms with an optometry expert. A Columbia optometrist at Dr. Dorothy Park & Associates will then give a patient a thorough eye examination. The testing consists of evaluating the quantity and quality of patient's tears. The optometrist will also gather information regarding the patient's medical history to determine if medications, environmental factors or health issues may be causing the dry eye. Dry eyes can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination comprised of an external examination of the eye. The optometrist may use a bright light and a special magnifying device to examine the eyelids and cornea. Testing with special emphasis on the evaluation of the quantity and quality of tears produced by the eyes may be conducted. In some cases, the eye care specialist will place special dyes into the eye to evaluate how the tears flow.
Treatment for Dry Eye
An optometrist at Dr. Dorothy Park & Associates in Columbia will treat dry eye using an artificial tear solution, which is an over-the-counter eye drop that adds a tear-like solution into the patient's eye. The optometry specialist may recommend an approach that consists of conserving tears. This keeps tears in the eyes for longer than normal. It's done by blocking the tear ducts with silicone or gel-like plugs to prevent them from draining normally. A surgeon specializing in optometry may block the ducts permanently. The eye care specialist may prescribe eye drops to increase tear production. The eye doctor may recommend lifestyle changes that can reduce the symptoms. For instance, the doctor will suggest blinking regularly when at a computer screen for prolonged periods of time. Increasing humidity levels inside the home as well as wearing sunglasses can reduce dry eye. Proper hydration helps as well.
To schedule an appointment to determine what's causing your dry eye, contact the optometry experts in Columbia at Dr. Dorothy Park & Associates at (803) 254-6306.