Let’s talk dry eye. You know; that nitty-gritty annoyance that has you rubbing your eyes. Maybe you spent the day enjoying the Southwest Florida sunshine on the golf course or the tennis courts, but now you’re really not enjoying the burning sensation in your eyes that somehow made its way home with you. Maybe too much screen time (television, smartphone, computer or tablet) has caught up with you and now it feels like you have beach sand in your eyes. Other dry eye symptoms include soreness, sensitivity to light and, oddly, excessive tearing or watery eyes.
This kind of dry eye is fairly common and situational. It’s not typically a major concern and can usually be relieved with home remedies. If you suffer from occasional dry eye, we’d like to offer some tips that can help:
- Warm compress. A warm washcloth across your eyes can help ease occasional dry, irritated eyes. Plus, it just feels great. Tears are made of oil, water and mucus, and your eyes need all three to stay moist and healthy. Inflamed eyelids can clog the oil-making glands and lead to dry eye. To help ease irritation and loosen clogged oils, wet a clean washcloth with warm water, wring it out, and place it over your closed eyes for at least a minute. Lie down. Gently press the edge of your eyelid with your finger to help squeeze out the clogged oils. The moisture and heat help loosen up the clogged oils in the glands.
- Blink! Here’s why. Most of us use smartphones, tablets, computer screens and other electronics for a good portion of the day. Staring at a screen affects the number of times you blink per minute. So try to be mindful of it and blink often when you’re online. Follow the 20/20 rule: close your eyes every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.
- Hydrate. Especially in sunny Southwest Florida, every part of your body needs hydration to stay healthy; this includes your eyes! Drinking water helps keep them lubricated. And don’t wait until you’re thirsty to down a bottle of water. By then, you may already be slightly dehydrated. Most experts agree we should drink eight to 10 glasses throughout the day. Time to start sipping!
- Drops, with caution. Over-the-counter eye drops work like your own tears and may help in some cases. But using them too often can actually irritate your eyes. What doesn’t work for dry eyes? Drops that are made for the sole purpose of removing redness, which, over time, can irritate your eyes even more.
Why Do My Eyes Get Dry?
We get this question a lot at our Dry Eye Clinic. Dry eye by definition is when your eyes don’t produce the right quantity or quality of tears to be healthy or comfortable. It is a chronic condition affecting over 100 million people worldwide! This imbalance contributes to what is known as evaporative dry eye.
Solutions for Dry Eyes in Fort Myers and Naples
If your dry eye symptoms are more significant or chronic than what is described above, not to worry. You don’t have to just live with it! We can perform a series of thorough diagnostic tests to evaluate your unique ocular surface condition, getting to the root cause of your dry eye problems.
At Collins Vision, we’ve helped countless patients identify the underlying cause of their dry eye symptoms, developing customized treatment plans for relief.
We are happy to offer a variety of choices for treating dry eye and can talk to you in detail about which treatment option is best for your unique ocular condition. The severity and the root cause of your dry eye will determine which treatment is the best choice for you. Some choices include:
BlephEx® – For the treatment of Demodex Blepharitis, an extremely common condition that occurs when microscopic mites live along the lash line and in hair follicles. During treatment, each eyelash margin is scrubbed with diluted tea tree oil until the affected areas are thoroughly cleansed. A home regimen will be prescribed following the procedure to prevent a recurrence. In most cases, symptoms are improved right away.
Expression of Meibomian Glands – These glands can become obstructed, causing the oil layer to become thin; hello, dry eyes! In-office expression of the meibomian glands works to re-establish healthy gland function.
Treatment for Ocular Allergies – If you have ocular allergies, you’re at an increased risk for dry eye. The opposite is also true: dry eye can aggravate allergic signs and symptoms. By taking a simple allergy test, we will know immediately if ocular allergies are to blame for your symptoms and will be able to create a customized, effective treatment plan to end your suffering.
Dry eye doesn’t have to define you or affect your life! We can help. See the Difference and schedule your dry eye consultation at Collins Vision today.
Dr. Nicole E. Alessi has collaborated with leading dry eye specialists around the country to develop the Collins Vision Dry Eye Specialty Clinic. Her interest in this area began during her residency training, where a strong emphasis was placed on the chronic disease of dry eye. She is dedicated to offering the most up-to-date, comprehensive care for patients with dry eye, blepharitis, and various ocular surface disorders. During your first appointment, you will personally meet with Dr. Alessi for your evaluation and a customized treatment plan.