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Dry Eyes Specialist

Scarbrough Family Eyecare

Optometry located in Traverse City, MI & Beulah, MI

At Scarbrough Family Eyecare we use some of the latest technology to diagnose and treat dry eye disease. Dry eye is a multifactorial and complex disease that often needs more than artificial tears for effective treatment. We use InflammaDry, a special test measuring inflammation in your tears, as well as other techniques to most effectively manage this complex and often frustrating condition.

Dry Eyes Q & A

What is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome results when your eyes don’t receive enough moisture. Your tears are made up of oils, water, mucus, and proteins, and they’re necessary to lubricate your eyes and protect them from irritants. Dry eye syndrome often results when you’re not producing enough tears, but it may also mean your tears are missing some of the necessary components.

In addition to a feeling of dryness, dry eye syndrome causes symptoms that include:

  • Stinging, burning, or scratchiness
  • A feeling of something foreign in your eye
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Heavy, fatigued eyes
  • Red or bloodshot eyes
  • Watery eyes that are still irritated

Dry eye syndrome can have consequences beyond these unpleasant symptoms if left untreated. Over time, without the protective function of tears, your eyes become more vulnerable to infection and damage.

What causes dry eye syndrome?

There’s usually an underlying cause for dry eye syndrome. You may produce low-quality or insufficient tears because of:

Contact lenses

If your contact lenses make your eyes feel dry, scratchy, or irritated, you may need to change your lens type, replacement schedule or lens care products.

Screen use

If you spend hours a day looking at a computer, smartphone, or tablet, you blink less, and your tears evaporate faster.

Aging

A decline in tear production, beginning around age 50, is a normal part of aging, though this affects some people more than others.

Environmental factors

Your eyes may dry out if you spend a lot of time in smoky, air-conditioned, or windy settings. If you ride a bicycle or travel via airplane frequently, these may also cause your eyes to dry out.

Health conditions

Dry eyes are a symptom of certain chronic illnesses, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid conditions, and lupus.

Medication

Dry eyes are a side effect of many prescription and over-the-counter medications. These include some antihistamines, antidepressants, birth control pills, blood pressure medications, and decongestants.

To treat dry eye syndrome effectively, it’s usually necessary to identify and target the underlying cause.

How is dry eye syndrome treated?

Mild cases of dry eye syndrome usually respond to over-the-counter lubricating eye drops. If your eyes are moderately or severely dry, Dr Reed may recommend other therapy or prescribe medication to reduce eye inflammation or stimulate tear production.

It’s also important to figure out what’s causing your symptoms. It might be necessary to take different medications that are less likely to cause dry eyes as a side effect. If you wear contacts, there are lenses specially designed for people with dry eyes.