Dr. Jim Martin 02/06/2014

man_rubbing_eyes.jpgDry eyes are something that happen to everyone at some point in time. For most people, it is a temporary condition that will pass in a few minutes. For some people though, it is not a temporary condition. It is chronic dry eye syndrome.

When someone is talking about dry eye syndrome, they are actually talking about a range of factors that can cause dry eyes. This condition can affect people of any age, but is most prevalent in people 50 and over. Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common reasons for people to make a visit to the eye doctor. In Amarillo, Texas, where it's dry and windy, dry eyes are especially common.

What Are The Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome usually starts out as a minor, occasional problem before gradually building to a more serious issue. In the early stages, most people report occasional symptoms like:
  • Redness in the eye
  • Scratchy, stinging, or burning eyes, especially in low humidity
  • Trouble wearing contacts
  • Eye dryness
  • Excessive tearing
  • Occasional blurry vision
  • A feeling like there is something in the eye

Over time, symptoms can become more persistent. Using artificial tears, like Restasis, can help, but they won't help much in severe cases. As the problem becomes worse, many people report advanced symptoms including:
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Severe eye pain
  • Constantly changing vision

A person who suspects they have dry eye syndrome needs to make an appointment with an eye doctor for evaluation.

How Is Dry Eye Syndrome Diagnosed?

An eye doctor can perform a number of tests to see if you actually have dry eye syndrome. If you do have it, the testing will reveal what might be causing it.

For the initial examination, the doctor take a look at your eyes with a slit lamp. This lamp focuses light onto the front of your eyes. The doctor will watch the surface of the eye to see if it remains moist or develops dry spots quickly. If the optometrist observes rapidly drying areas, a more advanced test is necessary.

One way an eye doctor can test for this condition is by measuring the thickness of the lipid layers on the surface of the eye. This happens by taking a series of pictures with a special camera. It is non-invasive and takes about 5 minutes to do. If the doctor suspects you are having problems with lipid production from the meibomian glands in your eyelids, the doctor can check the gland production.

Who Can Treat My Dry Eyes?

Dry eyes are especially common in the Texas Panhandle, but there is no reason for you to continue suffering. If you are having any of the symptoms of dry eye syndrome, contact the Amarillo eye care specialists at Broome Optical. We can diagnose the problem and offer a range of treatment options to reduce the symptoms. 

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