Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common reasons patients visit their ophthalmologist, with thousands of people affected each year. So, what is dry eye syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is exactly as it sounds: the eyes become dry. Any disturbance in the tear film, a very thin layer of moisture that lubricates the surface of the eye, results in symptoms of dry eye. These can range from intermittent blurred vision, inability to tolerate contact lenses, gritty sensation, stinging, burning, tearing, and eye redness.
There are various causes of dry eye, such as hormonal changes, medications (usually anti-allergy medications and some blood pressure medications), changes in climate, inflammation in the body, and occasionally overactive nerves that provide sensation to the eyes. The overall quality of the tear film does diminish with age as well.
Initial therapy for dry eye is targeted to over-the-counter artificial tears and warm compresses (run a washcloth under warm water and soak the eyes until wash cloth cools). During the winter, the climate is less humid, so adding a humidifier to the home may help with dry eye.
Certain dietary changes are also important to note. Decreasing foods that promote inflammation in the body (processed foods and trans fats) and increasing your intake of anti-oxidants (fruits and vegetables) can help dry eye. Increasing omega 3 fats found in oily fish (salmon, tuna, trout) can also help reduce dry eye symptoms. Supplements including fish oil or primrose oil have shown great benefit for select patients, but PLEASE consult with your ophthalmologist and primary care provider before starting any over-the-counter supplements.
It’s important to know that every case of dry eye and every patient is different. Talk with our ophthalmologist, Dr. Hugh Wright, to find the right treatment plan for you!
To schedule an appointment, please call Billings Clinic Bozeman at (406) 898-1200.
Having difficulty with night vision, including worsening glare from headlights? Have you noticed gradually worsening quality of vision at distance or near, despite updates to glasses or contacts? Are you needing more light to read? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, and you are at least early fifties or older in age, you may be suffering from the effects of cataracts. A cataract is the result of the native lens inside of the eye becoming cloudier over time. Increasing age is the strongest risk factor for developing cataracts, with other common risk factors including diabetes, smoking, and long-term exposure to UV light.
Cataracts do inevitably worsen overtime, and cataract surgery is the most definitive way to treat a cataract. This outpatient procedure has a very high success rate, where the cataract is replaced with an artificial, clear lens implant. Not only does this procedure improve your quality of vision, but there is potential for reducing your glasses dependency as well.
If you are interested in discussing cataracts or cataract surgery in more detail, please call Billings Clinic Bozeman at (406) 898-1200 to schedule an appointment with our ophthalmologist, Dr. Hugh Wright!