How Do Optometrists Treat Dry Eye?

Tired woman taking off glasses is feeling eye strain

Dry eye disease (DED) is a common eye condition affecting about 20 million people in the United States. It occurs when the eyes fail to produce enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly, leaving the eyes feeling dry, irritated, and uncomfortable. This condition ranges from mild to severe and can affect people of all ages, though women over 40 are the most at-risk demographic. Fortunately, optometrists offer various treatments to relieve dry eye symptoms and improve overall eye health.

What is Dry Eye?

The tears your eyes produce have several essential functions, including lubricating the eyes, washing away debris, and preventing infections. While dry eye is harmless, inadequate tear production can cause significant discomfort and decrease your quality of life.

Symptoms of Dry Eye

The signs of DED vary depending on its severity and the underlying cause. Some common symptoms include:

  • Dryness, burning, or stinging sensation
  • Redness and irritation of the eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye discharge
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses

Diagnosing Dry Eye

Optometrists diagnose dry eye disease through a comprehensive eye exam, which includes reviewing your medical history, assessing your symptoms, and performing various diagnostic tests. These tests may include measuring the quantity and quality of your tears, assessing your tear film, and evaluating your overall eye health.

Treating Dry Eye

Doctors treat dry eye in various ways depending on the severity of the condition. Treatment options include:

  • Addressing underlying conditions: If DED is a symptom of another medical condition, such as arthritis or thyroid disease, seeking appropriate treatment may help improve your dry eye. Other underlying problems may include allergies, environmental factors, or medication side effects, which you can manage through lifestyle changes and working with your doctor.
  • Taking medication: Your optometrist may prescribe dry eye medication to help manage your symptoms, including artificial tears, anti-inflammatory eye drops, or prescription drops that stimulate tear production. You may need to take your prescriptions daily for optimal results.
  • Undergoing procedures: In some cases, your eye doctor may recommend non-surgical treatment to improve severe DED. One option is LipiFlow, a pain-free procedure that involves applying pressure to the eyelids to help release blocked oil glands. Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment is another option. This uses bursts of light to clear out blockages in the oil glands and promote better tear flow.

Dry Eye Treatment in Southern New Hampshire

If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms, schedule an appointment with Spindel Eye Associates to determine the best treatment. Our board-certified eye doctors have over 35 years of experience treating dry eye disease. We use state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to pinpoint the root cause of your discomfort. Then, we recommend the latest, most effective treatments to alleviate DED, including prescription medication, LipiFlow, and IPL.

You can count on us for fast, painless dry eye relief! Call 603-434-4193 to learn more or schedule an eye appointment at one of our Southern New Hampshire clinics.