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Posted on 07-17-2017
Dry eyes are a serious problem. That might sound silly, but tears are a big part of comfort when it comes to eyes, and a bigger part of eye health. Irritated, scratchy, gritty-feeling eyes are more than distracting and can ultimately result in vision loss if they aren't treated. An Atlanta optometrist can help.
Tears are a lot more complex than simple salt water. They contain an assortment of proteins, enzymes, salts, and hormones, and oils. They change based on emotion and conditions. There are good quality tears and bad quality tears. There are people who don't make enough tears, or whose medications interfere with their tear production.
The tissues of eyes are bathed, nourished, and protected by tears. They help to keep the eyeball mobile and keep the line of sight clear and comfortable. Tears push out objects such as dust and the occasional stray eyelash that should not be there. Tears are necessary for healthy eyes.
People over the age of 65 tend to suffer from dry-eye symptoms more often. Women tend to have more problems with dry eyes than men. Medications, medical conditions, and surgeries can all affect tear production. And people who are exposed to smoke, wind, or dry environmental conditions, or who spend too much time in front of a computer monitor all have increased risk for dry eyes.
A good optometry examination can help to diagnose dry eyes. If a patient complains of dry or irritated eyes, an eye doctor can examine the eyes and surrounding tissues and measure tear production to determine the extent of the problem. Dyes can be administered during the exam to track tear movement. Patients should have a list of medications that they are taking available so the optometrist can determine if they may be the cause of the problem. Dry eyes are a common side effect of medications.
In mild cases, dry eyes can be treated with artificial tears, available over-the-counter at a pharmacy. For more severe cases, the optometrist can plug the tear ducts to keep the tears in the eyes, can prescribe medication to cause the eyes to produce more tears, or can offer surgery to close the tear ducts permanently. If there is another contributing cause, that would need to be treated as well. The eye doctor may suggest nutritional supplements to improve the tear quality. Patients should take care to blink enough during computer use, to wear sunglasses to help shield the eyes from the environment, to drink enough water, and if possible, to increase the humidity in the home or office.
Patients in the Atlanta, Roswell, Brookhaven, Marietta, and Sandy Springs area can contact Eye 1st Vision Center at 404-252-1702 to make an appointment. Dr. Shida offers comprehensive eye exams, glasses, contact lens fittings, treatment of dry eyes and other eye diseases, and Lasik in his optometry practice.
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