Our Eye Doctors Treat Dry Eye in South Austin and Westlake, TX
Do you suffer from red, scratchy eyes? Do you always feel a need to blink or rub your eyes? If so, you’re not alone! Dry eye syndrome is currently one of the most common eye conditions in America. While this condition isn’t typically dangerous, it can be very annoying! The irritating symptoms interfere with normal daily tasks, as well as raise your risk of eye infections and corneal inflammation. Fortunately, for residents of the South Austin and Westlake, TX, areas, we are qualified and experienced in diagnosing and treating dry eye. Contact our office, located in Austin, Texas.
Typical Dry Eye Symptoms
The symptoms vary from person to person, yet most of our patients with dry eye experience the following:
- Scratchy or itchy eyes
- Gritty feeling, as if sand is under your eyelids
- Stinging or burning eyes
- Need to blink or rub your eyes constantly
- Uncomfortable contact lenses
- Blurred vision
- Watery eyes (due to reflex tearing)
These symptoms can get in the way of daily life, making it hard to drive, read or watch TV. If you suffer from any of the above, please contact our eye doctor! We can alleviate the pain of dry eyes and restore your comfortable vision.
Common Causes of Dry Eye
Dry eye syndrome may be caused by insufficient tear production or poor quality tears. Either the glands that produce lubricating tears aren’t working properly, or your tears have a chemical composition that causes them to evaporate too quickly.
A number of lifestyle and health conditions can contribute to the development of dry eye symptoms. Typical causes in the South Austin and Westlake area include:
- Extended time spent viewing a computer screen or reading (both can lead to reduced blinking)
- A problem with your natural tear-producing glands
- Air conditioning/heating
- Aging, specifically with females
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Wearing contact lenses
- Blepharitis, and/or blocked tear glands
- Post-LASIK surgery
- Atmospheric conditions: strong winds, low humidity, extreme temperatures
- High pollution and dust
- Smoking, or being around cigarette smoke
- A side effect of specific medications
- Systemic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea, lupus, or Sjogren’s Syndrome
Diagnosing Dry Eye
We will first listen to your symptoms and facts about your lifestyle, which is often enough to make a diagnosis of dry eye syndrome. In addition, we may perform various procedures to confirm your condition.
Schirmer test: a thin strip of paper is placed in your eyelid to measure the quantity of tears
TearLab osmolarity: using a tiny sample of your tears, this device analyzes the concentration of salt, known as osmolarity. Higher results typically correlate with the severity of dry eye.
TBUT test: measures how fast tears break up, which is associated with the healthy composition of tears. Our eye doctor will insert fluorescein dye to evaluate the rate at which your tears deconstruct.
Dry Eye Treatment in Austin, TX
The most effective treatment for dry eye depends on the particular cause. Our eye doctor will perform a detailed eye exam to identify what’s behind your dry eyes and to rule out any other eye problems. In addition to checking your eyes, our Austin eye doctors will ask you a series of questions about your lifestyle and general health. The more we know about you and your daily regimen, the better we can match dry eye treatment to your individual condition!
There is no absolute cure for dry eye, yet our eye care specialists will provide you with a personalized plan to alleviate your painful symptoms. If over-the-counter artificial tears do not alleviate your discomfort, we may prescribe medication, such as lubricating eye drops, anti-inflammatory drugs to stimulate tear production, or antibiotics to target bacteria that can destroy healthy tear composition. Another method of treatment involves wearing artificial tear inserts, which release moisture into your eyes gradually throughout the day.
Punctal plugs work well for many of our patients with severe dry eye. During an in-office procedure, our eye doctor will seal your punctum (the tiny hole in the corner of your eyelids) with silicone plugs. The goal of this treatment is to block tear drainage, thereby enabling more moisture to remain on your eyes.
There is no reason to suffer through day after day with eye irritation from dry eye syndrome. If you are in the South Austin and Westlake areas, our eye doctor is here to help!
Answers to Your Eye Care Questions
Q: Is it true that Dry Eye Symptoms seem to be more severe in the winter than in the warmer spring and summer months?
A: No – Dry Eye symptoms are prevalent all year round.
Read more on our FAQ page.
Did you know? Orthokeratology, or “ortho-k,” is the process of reshaping the eye with specially-designed rigid gas permeable contact lenses. The goal of ortho-k is to flatten the front surface of the eye and thereby correct mild to moderate amounts of nearsightedness and astigmatism.