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WHAT IS DRY EYE?

Austin Eye Doctors Can Help: Tears Are Essential for Healthy Eyes & Vision.

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What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry Eye Syndrome, or DES, is a condition caused by a lack of naturally producing tears. Tears are an essential aspect of eye health because they lubricate the surface of the eyes, keeping them moist and comfortable. When the body is unable to produce an adequate amount of tears, the eyes can begin to dry out, leading to itchy, red, and painful eyes.

At , we are leaders in treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome patients in Austin, Texas. If you or a loved one suffers from DES, speak with our eye doctors and schedule a consultation to learn how we can help.

What Are Tears Made Of?
Tears are more than just fluid in the eye; they have a chemical makeup comprised of water, enzymes, proteins, metabolites, lipids, and mucins.

Tears are important because they keep your eyes well-lubricated and protect them from foreign bodies or dust particles, which can cause irritation. When an insufficient amount of tears is produced in the tear ducts, Dry Eye Syndrome occurs.

What are tear elements and why are they important?

  • Enzymes are proteins that cause a chemical reaction inside the body
  • Proteins are molecules containing amino acids that are found in tissues in the body
  • Metabolites are small molecules that are related to metabolism
  • Lipids are molecules with an oily substance which contain healthy fats
  • Mucins are glycoproteins that helps cells stick together

What Are Common Symptoms of Dry Eye?
The most frequent types of Dry Eye symptoms include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Burning sensation
  • Gritty feeling
  • Itchy eyes
  • Redness
  • Stinging
  • Soreness
  • Watery eyes

It may seem ironic, but one symptom of DES is watery eyes. This occurs when the body attempts to self-soothe the dryness by producing excessive tears, a condition known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS). The tears lack a sufficient amount of water, so although these tears may provide temporary relief, the excessiveness of the tear production isn’t healthy.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Who Is at Risk for Developing Dry Eye Syndrome?

Who Is at Risk for Developing Dry Eye Syndrome?

Like other diseases and eye conditions, there are some people who are more susceptible to developing DES. Age, gender, medical conditions, even the environment can contribute to sensitivity to dry eyes.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can make Dry Eye more prevalent. Patients with any of the following diseases may notice signs of DES symptoms:

  • Arthritis, an inflammation of the joints
  • Blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelid, usually caused by skin conditions such as dandruff or rosacea
  • Diabetes, a condition causing high blood glucose levels
  • Glaucoma, a disease of the optic nerve, which causes vision loss
  • Hypertension, high blood pressure in the arteries
  • Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes damage to healthy tissue
  • Thyroid Disorder, when the tissues that surround the eyes become swollen or inflamed
  • Vitamin A Deficiency, when there is an insufficient amount of Vitamin A, which normally helps protect the cornea

Environmental Factors

People who live in areas with heavy winds or with dusty or dry air may find that their eyes often feel dry. Being around smoke or hair dryers can cause the same reaction. Being in direct aim of a heater or air conditioning unit can also dry out the eyes.

Gender

Women are more prone to DES because of hormonal changes due to pregnancy, birth control, and menopause. Women over age 50 have a 50% greater risk of developing Dry Eye than men of the same age. Additionally, women tend to visit their doctor more often than men and at earlier stages of discomfort, so diagnosing the condition in women is more common.

Age

According to the National Eye Institute, the risk of experiencing DES goes up with age. That’s because the natural tears of the eye decrease over time, which is a natural part of aging. As the patient’s tear production diminishes, signs of Dry Eye increase.

Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome

Our eye doctors treat patients from all over Austin, TX who have Dry Eye. Our staff has the experience and knowledge needed to help give you relief from DES symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Depending on your specific case, we may recommend artificial tears or lubricant eye drops to produce tears to moisten and make your eyes feel more comfortable. Prescription drops can help stimulate tear production and, in some cases, steroids can provide significant short-term relief.

For patients with more severe DES, the doctor may suggest the use of punctal plugs. These tiny devices are placed inside the tear duct to block tears from draining. As the natural moisture is prevented from leaking out, it remains in the eye and coats it properly, keeping it lubricated and comfortable.

Scleral lenses can provide effective relief, as well. These are custom-designed rigid contact lenses with a large diameter that cover the entire sclera (the white part of the eye) without touching the cornea. Scleral lenses contain a tiny pool of water, providing constant moisture to dry eyes.

Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome
medications for dry eyes 1.jpg

Medications and Dry Eye

All medications include warnings of possible side effects which some patients may experience. There are certain categories of medications that are known to decrease natural tear production, such as:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Anxiety medications
  • Birth control pills
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Decongestants

If you are taking any of these medications and feeling any signs of Dry Eye, speak with about some alternative medications or treatments to alleviate your symptoms

Short-Term Effects of Dry Eye Syndrome

Many symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome last for the short term, meaning, they can fade with proper treatment or sometimes, on their own. Blurry vision, itchy or red eyes, and stinging can be treated effectively and perhaps eventually disappear.

Some symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome have long-term effects, which means that they can last for months or even years. These may include:

  • Corneal abrasions or ulcers
  • Long-term inflammation
  • Vision impairment

Corneal abrasions can become serious if left untreated. They often heal on their own, but in more severe cases, prescription creams or bandage contact lenses may be needed for more efficient treatment. In cases of vision impairment from Dry Eye Syndrome, we can help.

These long-term effects of Dry Eye can negatively impact your life. Sensitivity to light and difficulty driving are 2 primary examples of everyday tasks that can become restricted with severe Dry Eye Syndrome. This leads to a lower quality of life.

If you suffer from Dry Eye and are ready for a solution to your painful symptoms, contact our eye doctors and the staff at McCormick Vision Source. We are here to help you experience better vision today.

Performance and Sport Sunglasses

Whether you are out on the field, the golf course, the waves or the mountains, you want your sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun and enhance your visual experience. Sports and performance sunglasses are more than sun protection, they need to be designed for optimal, fit, comfort, acuity and strength, based on the demands of the sport or leisure activity you pursue.

Each element of your sports eyewear needs to be designed for active wear and to stand up to the tests of extreme weather conditions, rough play, impact and of course the sun. If you are fishing for example, you need anti-glare protection in your lenses for when the sun’s bright rays reflect off the water, you need a broad frame to keep out the mist and wind and you need strong frames and lenses for impact resistance. Most importantly, depending on your sport of choice, your glasses should assist in creating an enhanced visual experience so you can see and perform at your best.

Performance Sport Lenses

The first consideration when selecting your sports eyewear is the lens. You likely want a lightweight, strong and durable lens that can withstand impact from debris, other athletes, balls or falls. The leading lenses in this arena are polycarbonate or trivex lenses which are made from highly impact resistant plastic that has built-in UV protection.

Glare can be an annoying and uncomfortable distraction in outdoor activities, which can reduce vision and have a negative impact on sports performance. Polarized lenses will help to reduce the glare that is reflected off of wet, icy or shiny surfaces. Lens tints and coatings (such as anti-glare or anti-scratch coatings) can also help to improve visual clarity and can serve to reduce glare and to enhance contrast sensitivity to improve vision and therefore performance in certain outdoor activities. Some sports sunglasses come with interchangeable lenses of different tints to allow you to choose the contrast that most suits the conditions you are playing in.

Sport Frames

When selecting sports sunglass frames, the most important consideration is whether they have a comfortable and secure fit. Look for a pair that is strong and durable, yet lightweight and that doesn’t press into your face and cause discomfort at the temples or the bridge of the nose. For some sports like snowboarding, sports goggles might be the best option for the weather conditions and specific nature of the movement. Some frame options come with grips on the nose pads or temples to avoid slippage, particularly when you perspire.

Sports sunglasses are available in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes and the type that is best for you largely depends on the activities you participate in and what they demand. It is best to consult with your eye doctor or optician to get a full picture of your eye, vision and athletic needs in order to find the best pair of sports sunglasses for you.