Dry eye is a condition where your eyes don’t produce enough high-quality tears to keep your eyes moist, resulting in symptoms like itchy, watery, red eyes. At Dr. Gundersheimer’s Eye-Do Optical in Sherman, Texas, Jerry Gundersheimer, OD diagnoses and treats dry eye. He helps resolve your symptoms to improve your comfort and eye health. If your dry and itchy eyes are bothering you, call the office or schedule an appointment online.
What is dry eye?
Your eyes continually produce tears that spread a layer of moisture over your eyes. These tears keep your eyes clear of debris and help oxygen travel into your eyes. These tears are different than those made when you cry. Dry eye is a condition that develops when you either don’t produce enough of these moisturizing tears, or the tears you do make aren’t of high enough quality.
Your tears consist of oil, water, and mucus layers. The oil layer prevents your tears from evaporating too quickly. The water layer is the largest component of your tears and helps keep your eyes clean.
The mucus layer helps your tears spread over and stick to your eyes. Your tears need to have enough of each layer to moisturize, clean, and protect your eyes effectively.
What are dry eye symptoms?
While everyone gets itchy or irritated eyes occasionally, dry eye creates chronic, uncomfortable symptoms including:
- Excessive tear production
- Eye pain
- Stinging and burning sensations
- Strings of mucus or crust around your eyes
- Pain or discomfort when you wear contact lenses
By some recent estimates, 48% of adults in the US often deal with dry eye, and 5 million adults at least 50 years old have significant dry eye symptoms.
What causes dry eye?
Your age is the primary contributing factor to your chances of developing dry eye. Dry eye is also caused by damage to your tear glands, health conditions like diabetes or lupus, and medications like diuretics or antihistamines.
Allergies like hay fever can cause dry eye symptoms, as can environmental factors such as living in dry climates or exposure to wind and smoke.
How is dry eye treated?
Dr. Gundersheimer usually suggests using artificial tears to reduce the symptoms of dry eye. You can choose from a variety of over-the-counter brands at your local drug store. You may want to try a few brands to find the drops that work best for you.
Dr. Gundersheimer can also prescribe eyedrops to stimulate tear production.
If artificial tears don’t resolve your symptoms, Dr. Gundersheimer can suggest a procedure to temporarily block your tear ducts to help your eyes conserve tears. He can put small punctal plugs made from silicon or gel into your tear ducts, then remove them at a later date.
If your eyes are always dry, itchy, and watery, you can get attentive diagnosis and treatment at Dr. Gundersheimer’s Eye-Do Optical. Call the practice or use the online scheduling tool to make an appointment today.