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Dry eye symptoms and treatment

Tears get a bad rap, but they actually do amazing things for our eyes. Tears lubricate and moisturize the eyes, prevent infection, wash away foreign materials, maintain eye comfort and protect vision. When the eyes don’t produce enough tears, a common condition called dry eye can develop.

“One of the more common conditions that brings women into our office is dry eye,” says Mark Mohney, M.D., an ophthalmologist at Piedmont.

Causes of dry eye

Menopause is a common culprit of dry eyes. In fact, Dr. Mohney says most of his dry eye patients are in their perimenopausal and post-menopausal years.

Other causes include:

  • Side effects from medications like birth control pills, blood pressure medication, antidepressants, decongestants and antihistamines.
  • Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes and thyroid problems.
  • Environmental factors, such as staring at a computer screen for too long or exposure to dry climates, wind or smoke.
  • Long-term contact lens use or LASIK surgery.

Dry eye symptoms

Symptoms of dry eye include:

  • Pain
  • Burning
  • A gritty sensation
  • Itching
  • Eye fatigue
  • Redness
  • Blurry vision. Up to 85 percent of Dr. Mohney’s patients with dry eye have this symptom.

Dry eye treatment

Simply using replacement tears often alleviates the problem. Some patients may require temporary tear duct plugs. Dr. Mohney also says omega-3 fatty acid, flax seed or fish oil supplements may help.

“Then there are medications for people who are still symptomatic,” he says.

If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms, click here to find an ophthalmologist near you. 

Need to make an appointment with a Piedmont physician? Save time, book online.

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