Dry eye syndrome can cause you to suffer from eye burning, pain, redness, and more.
In addition to harming your quality of life, dry eye symptoms can often be a warning of more severe problems.
At Burcham Eyecare Center's Aurora, CO, office, we diagnose dry eye and provide a host of eye care solutions.
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is a condition caused by insufficient quantity or quality of tear production. When someone does not have enough tears, or their tears are not able to moisten or protect the eyes, they may suffer from various dry eye issues.
Dry eye is surprisingly common. Roughly 25 million Americans suffer from dry eyes. Its prevalence is growing among adults of all ages. One upside of this frustrating condition's frequency is that our optometrists and ophthalmologists have plenty of first-hand experience providing dry eye care.
Signs You Have Dry Eye
Having occasional eye issues does not mean you actually have dry eye syndrome. An eye exam with our Aurora team is the best way to receive an accurate diagnosis. Dry eye syndrome is characterized by repeatedly struggling with:
- Heavy eyes
- Watery tears
- Blurry vision
- Eye exhaustion
- Sensitivity to light
- Stringy eye mucus
- Sand-like sensation in the eyes
Your Vision Could Be in Danger
It can be tempting to tough out dry eye issues on your own. This is a risky decision. Dry eyes can result in blurred vision, endangering countless aspects of everyday life.
Untreated dry eye can also devolve into disastrous vision issues. In severe cases, dry eyes cause eye infections that lead to corneal ulcers — open sores on the eye. Corneal ulcers can immediately lead to blurred vision and highly elevated light sensitivity. Untreated corneal ulcers can even cause total blindness.
Dry eye can also be a sign of underlying vision issues. Your persistent dry eye could be a symptom of cataracts or glaucoma. When you come to our Aurora office for an eye exam, our doctors will get to the root of your dry eye issue and offer tailored solutions.
Reach Out to Our Expert Team
When Aurora patients need life-changing eye care, they come to our proven team.
Dr. James Russell Burcham is a board-certified ophthalmologist and surgeon who has been in practice since 1975. His devotion to our community is evidenced by the monthly care he provides to low-income patients at the Stout Street Health Center.
Our medical director, Dr. Justin Coco, has earned board certification in osteopathic ophthalmology. Our expert team is rounded out by Dr. Cecelia Koetting, an optometrist who was named VOA Young OD of the Year in 2019.
Call or write to our Aurora office to receive eye care from our experienced, award-winning doctors.
"No pain with much vision to gain"
How We Treat Dry Eye
Many over-the-counter artificial tear options can be used to add tears. It can be tricky to know which to buy on your own. For example, some eye drops may address redness without actually adding artificial tears. We can recommend effective over-the-counter eye drops to add tears or prescription-level eye drops to promote tear production.
Eye ducts drain tears. Some patients experience tear drainage that is too rapid, leaving them to suffer from dry eye. There are multiple solutions to this issue. For example, we can use punctal plugs to block drainage ducts. In more serious cases, surgery may be necessary to permanently seal the ducts and keep moisture in your eye.
You May Actually Have Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Both your upper eyelids and lower eyelids have meibomian glands. These glands are crucial for producing oil and healthy tears. Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) shares many symptoms with dry eye and may be the cause of your issues. We will assess your eyelids to see if you are suffering from dry eye, MGD, or another eye disease.
You Can Help Prevent Dry Eye
There are several actions you can take to minimize or avoid dry eye. The best way to receive behavioral recommendations is by speaking with our optometrists and ophthalmologists. They can give you personalized guidelines after getting to know more about you and your lifestyle.
There are some general suggestions virtually any dry eye patient could benefit from:
Prevent Pink Eye
Pink eye is known to be a major dry eye risk factor. You can help yourself avoid pink eye by washing your hands thoroughly after eating and other activities. You should also avoid touching your eyes and eyelids.
Adjust Contact Wearing
Contact lenses are convenient. Unfortunately, they can also worsen dry eye. You may need to lessen your contact usage to avoid dry eye symptoms. It is also critical to not sleep in contact lenses. Doing so increases dry eye and infection risk.
Careful Computer Use
Computers and other screens are ever-present in our daily lives. It is natural for patients to blink less when staring at a screen, leading to less lubrication. Taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes helps to prevent dry eye.