What You Need to Know about Chronic Dry Eyes

Suffering from dry eyes can be unbearable, especially if you have chronic symptoms that don’t seem to go away. If you are experiencing redness, itching, light sensitivity, a gritty feeling, or other dry eye symptoms, then it is time to talk to an experienced eye doctor in Chicago to explore treatment options.

Tears Lubricate for Protection

Tears are important to protect your eyes from potential threats, such as dust, debris, microorganisms, and more. These tears have the perfect balance of three important compounds:

  • Water, to moisturize the eyes
  • Oil, to lubricate the eyes
  • Mucus, to spread the tears evenly

If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eyes, then it could mean that you don’t have the right balance of these components. Or, it is possible that your tear system isn’t producing enough fluid to keep the eyes lubricated.

Environmental factors could be drying your eyes, such as the heater, air conditioner, or fans in the room. Additionally, the eyes tend to dry out with age, hormonal changes, medication use, and other diseases that affect tear production.

Treatment Options for Dry Eyes

Visiting a Chicago optometrist is always the best solution when you are identifying the right treatment for your dry eye problem. We’ll start with the least-invasive options first, then move to other treatments as needed. This treatment plan is always catered to the needs of each patient. At West Loop Eye Care, we care about your eye health. Our team is working hard to ensure optimal results from your treatment plan.

Here are a few treatments that might be used to reduce the symptoms of dry eyes and improve the comfort of your eyes:

  • Artificial Tears: You can find over the counter eye drops that help to lubricate the surface of the eye. Or, there are times when prescription drops might be required. Keep in mind that there isn’t one product that works for every person. So, you might need to test a few different options before finding the artificial tears that work best for you. These drops are placed in the eyes on an as-needed basis during the day.
  • Eye Ointment: Do you find that your eyes dry out while you are sleeping? Then, the artificial tears won’t be enough to keep the moisture on your eyes throughout the night. You might need to use a thicker product, such as an ointment to add a layer of protection before going to sleep.
  • Oral Medications: Certain medications can be taken orally to stimulate the production of tears. This treatment is only considered if the topical treatments are not effective.
  • Drain Duct Treatment: A temporary punctal occlusion is a treatment that might be used to manage how the tears are draining through the ducts. A temporary plug can be added to close the duct where the tears usually drain. If this treatment works well, then permanent plugs might be used after the temporary plugs dissolve. Another option is to use a heated tool that burns the duct shut, resulting in a small amount of scar tissue that blocks the drainpipe.
  • Underlying Cause: It is also important to consider the underlying cause of dry eyes. For example, if you are using a medication that dries out the eyes, then you might be able to change medications to eliminate this side effect.

If you have chronic dry eyes, then it is time to talk to your eye doctor about treatment options. Call us at West Loop Eye Care to learn more about the treatments that are available. We also have an online booking form that can be used to schedule an appointment.