In Utah, the climate can be so dry it’s like we’re in Death Valley. You’d think that in this climate everyone would have dry eyes and that everyone in places like Atlanta would never deal with the problem.
Truth is, dry eyes is a condition and not a response to the humidity in a particular area. At Griffeth Vision, we have extensive experience with dry eyes and its treatment.
What are dry eyes?
Since they’re exposed to the air, our eyes create a natural thin film of tears to combat the exposure. This layer keeps the eyes from drying out and protects them from potential damage from dust, wind, and other stuff in the environment. When a person’s body doesn’t produce enough tears to provide this protective layer, or when the tears produced are substandard quality, then the eyes become exposed to irritants in the environment.
Patients with dry eyes experience irritation on the conjunctiva or a feeling of a slight stinging, burning, or itching. If left untreated, because of their damage to the sensitive membranes in the eyes, dry eyes can escalate into impaired vision.
What causes dry eyes?
Dry eyes are usually caused by the inability of the patient to produce enough tears to properly lubricate the eyes. This can happen when the lacrymal glands are impaired and cannot physically produce enough tears. This happens more frequently as patients age, when they are suffering from other medical conditions, or when decreased tear production is a side effect of a treatment regimen or medication.
Also, tears of sub-par quality can be produced and lead to dry eyes. To be effective, tears must be comprised of three significant layers: a water layer, oil layer, and a mucin layer. If any one of these layers is missing or insufficient, the patient’s tears will not sufficiently protect the eye.
Treatment for dry eyes with Dr. Griffeth could include discontinuation of a drug being taken by the patient, once the reaction has been ascertained. It also could be found that the patient’s eyelids are overly small or they don’t blink correctly. In these cases surgery may be needed. Finally, medications that stimulate lubrication of the eye may be prescribed.
Are your eyes itching, stinging, and burning? Call us at Griffeth, 435-843-8333, and let’s see if you’re suffering from dry eyes.