Dry Eye Condition Will Have You Itching For Relief

dry eye condition

Almost everyone has had sore, irritated eyes at one time or another. But if the pain and redness just won’t go away, you may have “dry eye” condition.

Normally, when you blink, tears wash smoothly across your cornea, the clear outside part of the eye. Your tears have three layers: an outer oily sheet, a middle watery layer, and an inner mucous film. The oily layer keeps the surface of the tears smooth and protects the water layer from drying out too quickly. The job of the water is to wash away foreign materials that may end up in your eye. But the watery layer could not stick to your eye without the help of the mucus, which spreads the tears across the eye and keeps the eye surface moist. After moving across your eye, excess tears are drained away by small ducts at the inner corners of your eyelids.

Causes

Dry eye happens in two ways–either the eye doesn’t make enough tears or something affects one or more of the tear layers. Many people experience dry eyes as they age, and women are often affected due to the hormonal changes of menopause. Other causes of dry eye condition include medications such as antihistamines and blood pressure drugs, medical conditions such as diabetes and eye infections, long-term use of contact lenses, and environmental factors including smoke and dry wind. Staring at a computer screen without blinking may also cause dry eye.

Symptoms

For most people, the main symptoms of dry eye are having eyes that

  • sting and burn
  • are red and irritated
  • feel scratchy or gritty
  • have mucus strings
  • water excessively, without pain relief.

Diagnosis

Your eye doctor will perform an eye exam, including completion of a medical history, assessment of your eyes, and measurement of tear quantity and quality. Based on this information, your doctor will determine the most effective treatment for your condition.

Treatment

Dry eye treatment focuses on adding tears, saving tears, and treating underlying conditions. To add tears, your eye doctor may prescribe over-the-counter artificial tear solutions; if artificial tears are not enough, the doctor may give you eye medication that increases your tear production. To conserve tears, tiny silicone or gel plugs called punctal plugs may be put into your tear ducts to slow tear drainage. These can be removed later, if desired. If an eye infection is causing your dry eye, your doctor will treat that condition.

To reduce the symptoms of dry eye at home, remember to blink regularly when reading or working at the computer, increase the humidity in your house or office, drink water to avoid dehydration, and wear sunglasses outdoors to decrease wind and sun exposure.

 

If you have questions about dry eye or need to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

5 Tips for Vision Health

vision healthYour eyes are a very important part of your health. Regular visits to your eye doctor provide sneak peeks into what your overall health is like. Doctors can tell if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes just by looking at the back of your eyes. There are many things you can do that will keep your eyes healthy so they will serve you well throughout your life.

Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam.
Many of us do not recognize vision problems because changes occur subtly and our brains adjust quickly to compensate for these changes. Visiting your eyecare professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to ensure you are maintaining healthy vision.
Often people do not realize they could see better with glasses or contact lenses. Many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration have no warning signs. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages.

Know your family’s eye health history.
Discuss eye health history with your family members. Knowing a family member has been diagnosed with a disease or a condition is a vital piece of health information. Often, diseases or conditions of the eye are hereditary and this will help determine if you are at a higher risk of developing the same condition.

Eat right to protect your sight.
You’ve heard carrots are good for your eyes. Eating fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale and collard greens are excellent sources of the antioxidants that help protect your vision. Research shows omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are beneficial to your eyes as well.
Trying to maintain a healthy weight as you age will also decrease your risk for developing diseases that may impact your vision such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Wear your sunglasses.
Sunglasses really aren’t just for looks. Sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When you purchase sunglasses, make sure they filter out 100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. Oversized sunglasses protect the soft tissue around your eyes and polarized lenses make it easier to see in bright sunlight.

Give your eyes a rest.
When you spend large amounts of time focusing on your computer, your eyes can get fatigued resulting in eye strain. To maximize your eye health and avoid eye strain, try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet in front of you for about 20 seconds. This trick will give your eyes the rest period that it is needed to continue your computer work with minimal detriment to your eye health.

Taking care of your eyes is very important as you age and getting a yearly eye exam is an excellent way to make sure you are staying healthy and problems are caught early. If you have not had a comprehensive dilated eye exam and would like to schedule one online contact Hampton Roads Eye Associates or call (757) 643-8800.

Protecting your Eyes During the Summer

dsc_0074Warmer and longer summer days entice us to enjoy more time outdoors, but whether we’re spending the day at the beach or just relaxing in the garden with a good book, we must not forget to protect our eyes and sight!

Our eyes need the same care and attention as our skin during the summer months. Not only does the sun make our eyes more prone to infections and UV-related conditions such as Photokeratitis or cornea sunburn, it can also do permanent damage as UV rays deeply permeate the eye, causing damage.

To help our patients take good care of their eyes, we are providing some tips to help keep our peepers healthy during the summer months.

  1. Invest in a good pair of sunglasses
    Wear sunglasses that are designed to block 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. Remember: UV protection has nothing to do with how dark the tint of your sunglasses is. So look for a label that states 100% UV-protection, as these sunglasses will prevent your eyes from being exposed to harmful UV rays. Take extra care by investing in a pair of polarized sunglasses.
  2. Protect your eyes while swimmingUse proper eye protection while swimming, to avoid  an infection or damage your eyes with chemicals.
    • Do not wear contact lenses while swimming. Wearing contact lenses while swimming may increase your risk of eye infection from microorganisms in the water.
    • Always wear goggles, and never swim with your eyes open under water without them. Swimming with your eyes open can cause redness as well as burning or dry eyes.  Wearing goggles not only protects your eyes from chemicals in the pool, but you will also see more clearly under water.
  3. Wear a hat
    Hats aren’t just fashion-forward but also a must when it comes to protecting our eyes from the harsh sun. The wider the brim, the more the hat will deflect sunshine. It’s especially important to wear your hat between 10am and 2pm, when the sun is at its strongest!
  4. Get some fresh air 
    Although it may be tempting to stay indoors where the air condition is keeping you cool, it can lead to dry eye. Because AC units remove all the moisture from the air it may lead to persistent dryness, scratchiness, red eyes and a burning sensation. Avoid this by getting plenty of fresh air and only having the air conditioning on for short amounts of time
  5. Drink plenty of water
    Drinking plenty of water will not only keep your whole body hydrated, but it also keeps your eyes healthy. So make sure to get lots of fresh water to help the eyes maintain a healthy balance of fluid, preventing them from becoming dehydrated and irritated.

Now that you know, go enjoy your summer, and stay safe!

Tips for Healthy Eyes

hampton roads eye doctorsMarch is National Save Your Vision Month, which is a good reminder not to take healthy eyesight for granted. Your eyes are an important part of your health. There are many things you can do to keep them healthy and make sure you are seeing your best. Follow these simple steps for maintaining healthy eyes for years to come.

1. Get regular eye exams

When you’re seeing well and have no irritation, it’s easy to forget scheduling your eye exam. However, it is important to pay regular visits to the eye doctor. Adults, especially those over 40, should have yearly eye exams. This helps to prevent and detect age-related ocular conditions including macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma. Children should have their first eye exam by their first birthday. It’s important to detect visual problems that could impede a child’s ability to learn.

2. Know your family’s eye health history

Find out about your family’s eye healthy history, and share this information with your doctor. It is important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are hereditary. This valuable information can help to determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye disease or condition.

3. Eat healthy for good vision 

We have all heard about how carrots are good for our vision. But eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens is important for keeping your eyes healthy. Research has also shown that eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna and halibut are beneficial for healthy eyes.

4. Quit smoking

It is no surprise that smoking is as damaging for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage. If you have tried to quit smoking before and started smoking again, keep trying. Studies show that the more times you try to quit smoking, the more likely you are to succeed.

5. Wear suglasses

Protect your eyes the same way you would your skin. Every time you lather on sunscreen, think about shielding your eyes from the sun as well! Make sure to purchase sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.

6. Give your eyes a break

If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. To help reduce eye strain try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.

7. Protect your eyes

Always wear protective eye wear when necessary at work, at home and at play. If you work with hazardous or airborne materials at work or home, wear safety glasses or protective goggles every time. Wear eye protection during sports like ice hockey, racquetball, and lacrosse to shield your eyes.