If you suffer from dry eye, you know the feeling: you blink and blink, but you can’t get rid of the burning sensation in your eye. With dry eyes, you either do not produce enough tears, or your tears are of a poor quality, unable to effectively lubricate the front of the eye. What causes this feeling and, more importantly, how can you get relief from dry eye?

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is actually one of the most common reasons patients visit their eye doctor. It is a progressive condition where the eyes cannot produce enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye.

Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. With every blink, tears spread across the surface of the eye, known as the cornea. These tears provide lubrication, reduce the risk of infection, and keep the surface of eye clear of debris. If moment to moment tearing with blinking is inadequate, blurry vision and discomfort can occur.

Causes and Symptoms of Dry Eye

A common and chronic issue, dry eye can develop for many reasons. Some of the most common causes for dry eye include:

  • Age – Most over the age of 65 experience symptoms of dry eyes
  • Gender – Women are more likely to develop dry eyes due to hormonal changes  
  • Medications – Certain medicines produce dry eye as a side effect, including antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure medications and decongestants
  • Medical conditions – Those with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid problems are more likely to experience dry eye symptoms
  • Environmental conditions – Exposure to dry climates, higher altitudes, smoke and wind can result in dry eye symptoms

The most common symptom of dry eyes is a chronic burning sensation in the eyes. Other common symptoms of dry eye include:

  • Irritated, scratchy or red eyes
  • A constant feeling of “something” in the eyes
  • Excessive watering/tearing  
  • Blurry or fluctuating vision  

Diagnosing Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are typically diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. This is followed by a panel of diagnostic modalities unique in the area to Ocala Eye’s Dry Eye Center. Several Ocala Eye doctors have a specialization in dry eye disease.

During the examination, your eye doctor will examine the entire lubrication system, including the ocular surface, the lid margins, the tear film chemistry, the meibomian glands, the blink mechanism, and the presence of inflammation. Careful analysis of dry eye testing results pinpoints what treatment measures will work best for each patient.

Based on your exam and your test results, a personalized treatment regimen will be prescribed for you by one of our expert ophthalmologists.

Treating Dry Eyes

Our board certified and fellowship trained ophthalmologists will work with you to determine the best treatment method for your particular case of dry eye.

Our goal is to optimize the amount and effectiveness of tears so you can experience relief. We do this through a variety of options ranging from over-the-counter artificial tear solutions for some patients to more advanced, surgical techniques for others.

Some of the treatment methods commonly used to treat dry eye include:

  • LipiFlow
  • Intense Pulsated Light (IPL)
  • MiBo Thermoflo
  • Bleph-Ex
  • Conjunctival Chalasis (CCH) Surgery
  • Meibomian Gland Probing  
  • Punctum Plugs
  • Prescription medications such as Restasis

The goal of any dry eye treatment is to keep your eyes as healthy and comfortable as possible without impacting your vision or lifestyle.

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