Everyone occasionally experiences the sensation of dry, itchy eyes or feels like they have grit or sand in their eyes. However, if these symptoms persist, you may have dry eye disease and should make an appointment with Leslie Weil, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist at Weil Eye Care Medical Center, in San Carlos, California. Dr. Weil provides expert diagnosis and customized treatments for dry eye disease. Call Weil Eye Care Medical Center or make an appointment online today.
Dry eye disease occurs when you have an insufficient quantity or quality of tears.
You produce tears to keep your eyes moist and clean. Your tears have three different layers — an outer lipid (oil) layer, an aqueous (water) layer, and an inner mucus layer — which perform different roles in protecting and nourishing your eyes.
The mucus layer spreads your tears over your eyes evenly. The water layer moisturizes your eye and rinses away debris. The oil layer prevents your tears from evaporating too quickly. If any of these layers is insufficient, you can develop dry eye symptoms.
Dry eye disease causes many uncomfortable symptoms, including:
When left untreated, dry eye disease can lead to cornea damage.
Anything that interferes with your tear production can contribute to dry eye disease. For example, your risk of dry eye disease increases as you age.
Additionally, medications like antihistamines for allergies or diuretics for blood pressure can reduce your tear production. Environmental factors such as air quality and the time you spend wearing contact lenses or in front of a computer screen, reading/other close work, and driving also make your eyes drier. Some other diseases, especially autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, may cause dry eye disease.
Dr. Weil diagnoses dry eye disease during comprehensive eye exams. She reviews your medical history and asks about your symptoms. She also asks about your lifestyle and environment to assess the factors that could be contributing to your symptoms.
During your exam, Dr. Weil also studies your eyes, including your corneas, eyelids, and blink dynamics. She also measures the quantity and quality of your tears to evaluate the severity of your condition and identify the best way to treat you.
Dr. Weil provides personalized treatment plans for dry eye disease. If your condition is mild, you may benefit from using over-the-counter artificial tears to supplement your natural tear production.
Dr. Weil can also prescribe eye drops that increase tear production and reduce inflammation in your eyelids and the surface of your eyes.
Another standard treatment involves blocking your tear ducts with punctal plugs to conserve your tears and keep them on your eyes longer. In some cases, surgery may be needed to close your tear ducts permanently. In some cases, the use of an amniotic patch placed for several days allows the transfer of growth factors to the cornea, improving its health.
Call Weil Eye Care Medical Center or make an appointment online today for expert dry eye disease diagnosis and treatment.