How an Optometrist Can Treat Dry Eyes
A person with dry eyes doesn't have sufficient tears to lubricate their eyes. Every time you blink, tears spread across the cornea. Tears lubricate the eyes and reduce your risk of an eye infection. They also eliminate foreign matter and keep the surface of your eyes smooth.
When you have excess tears, they flow into the back of your nose. Dry eyes arise when your production and drainage of tears aren't balanced. Here are some ways an optometrist can treat your dry eye condition.
Eye Drop Prescription
Many people rush for over-the-counter eye drops to treat their gritty eyes. However, the risk of choosing the wrong eye drops is that they can wash away lipids, mucus, and proteins necessary for a healthy tear film. These nutrients also prevent tear evaporation.
Therefore, using the wrong eye drops could worsen your dry eye condition. An eye doctor will diagnose the cause of your dry eyes and give you the right eye drop prescription.
One of the ways an optometrist can minimize the symptoms of dry eyes is by keeping natural tears in your eyes for longer. This can be achieved by blocking the tear ducts used to drain tears.
An optometrist will use a tiny removable silicone to block the tear ducts. These punctal plugs are reversible and act as a temporary fix. In severe cases, the eye doctor will perform surgery to apply a more permanent plug. During this procedure, the practitioner will apply heat to the tear ducts in both your eyes, which will permanently close the ducts.
Alternatively, your optometrist may surgically fix your eyelids. This applies to cases where dry eye occurs because the lower eyelids are loose, causing tears to drain quickly from your eyes. Another surgical procedure is the meibomian gland expression. This applies to cases where dry eye is caused by insufficient oil secretion. In this procedure, the eye doctor applies heat to the eyelid and squeezes out hardened oil to clear the eye's oil glands.
Another way your optometrist can treat your dry eye condition is by adding tears. Your doctor will recommend over-the-counter artificial tears. These tears help promote natural tear production. Artificial tear solutions without preservatives are great for adding tears, as they include fewer ingredients. Therefore, you don't have to worry about irritation.
Some main symptoms of dry eye include sensitivity to light, difficulty wearing contact lenses, watery eyes, and eye redness. You may also feel a scratchy feeling like there is something inside your eye. You should consult an optometrist immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.