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Do Optometrists Treat Dry Eyes?

August 29 2022
Woman with sore eyes, woman without sore eyes

It may come as a surprise to hear that approximately 10% of the population suffers from dry eyes. If you’re one of these people, you might be surprised to learn that dry eyes is something an eye doctor can treat. 

Read on as an Old Tapan, NJ optometrist discusses dry eye disease, what causes it, and available treatment options.

What Is Dry Eye Disease?

Dry eye disease is a condition that affects the tear film, the thin layer of tears that covers your eyes and keeps them moist. This tear film may be too thin or not working properly. 

It’s a condition that causes the eyes to not produce enough tears, or to produce a poor quality of tears. It can cause symptoms like itchy, burning, and irritated eyes. 

Dry eye disease can be either acute or chronic; acute cases are temporary, while chronic cases are long-term.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

The most common cause of dry eye disease is meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), which blocks the natural oil glands in the eyelids. This causes the eyes to become inflamed and irritated. 

Other causes include:

  • Contact lens use
  • Poor tear production
  • Rosacea (a condition that causes facial redness) 
  • Sjögren’s syndrome (an autoimmune disorder that affects the salivary and lacrimal glands) 
  • Seasonal allergies 
  • Medications, including antihistamines, antidepressants, eye drops, and allergy medications)
  • Computer vision syndrome (CVS)
  • Age-related macular degeneration 
  • Age (older people are more likely to experience dry eyes) 
  • Smoking, stress, and certain medications

Treatments for Dry Eyes

Dry eyes can be caused by several different issues. And if you have them, they can make life miserable!

But don’t worry—your optometrist can help with that!

There are several treatments for dry eyes, but the first step is always to figure out what’s causing your symptoms. Are you an allergy sufferer? Is there something in your environment that could be making your eyes sore? (Dust and pollution are common culprits.) Or do you have a medical condition like diabetes or lupus that might be causing your discomfort?

Once we’ve figured out what’s going on with your eyes, we’ll help you find the best way to treat it. We may suggest:

A special kind of contact lens that helps reduce irritation from light exposure; we might recommend eye drops or other over-the-counter solutions; or we could even recommend prescription eye drops if needed.

Whatever the cause of your dry eyes, we’ll get to the bottom of it and help you feel better faster than ever!

If you have more questions or wish to schedule an eye exam, please feel free to call our Old Tapan, NJ optometry office today!

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