Most people experience the occasional bout of dry, itchy, irritated eyes at one time or another. For many others, however, these symptoms occur more frequently and often begin to interfere with daily activities such as job-related screen time or reading the newest bestseller. Dry eyes also increase your risks of developing eye infections and other concerning conditions.
Dr. Mitchell C. Latter is a board-certified ophthalmologist with self-titled offices in Bellflower and South Pasadena, California. He’s well-known for his skill and expertise in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of eye conditions, including dry eye. Read what Dr. Latter has to say about this frustrating but very treatable condition.
Understanding dry eye
Dry eye is a condition that affects the three-part tear layer of your eyes, which consists of water, fatty oils/lipids, and mucus. Tears lubricate and nourish your cornea and help shield your eyes from environmental dust and debris. If your tears lack sufficient oils, or you don’t produce adequate amounts of tears, you develop dry eye.
Unlike temporary eye irritation, dry eye can cause persistent symptoms that might include:
- Red, itchy eyes
- Blurred vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Burning or stinging in the eyes
- Feeling as if you have sand in your eyes
Symptoms usually affect both eyes and typically worsen during activities such as reading or looking at a computer screen.
You may also notice increased symptoms when in a dry environment, such as an air-conditioned plane or on a windy day.
Complications associated with dry eye
Along with the discomfort caused by dry eye, the condition increases your risks of developing:
- Painful eye infections
- Abrasion of the corneal surface
- Corneal ulcer
- Vision problems
Untreated dry eye can also interfere with contact lens use and impair your ability to read, drive, work on a computer, or enjoy screen time.
How do you treat dry eye?
As the first step in developing an effective treatment strategy, Dr. Latter uses advanced technology to help determine whether your dry eye is related to inadequate tear production, decreased tear quality, or both.
Based on those findings and the severity or frequency of your symptoms, he may recommend:
- Over the counter eye drops to moisten your eyes and relieve irritation
- Medicated eye drops that increase tear production
- Drops containing medicine to relieve inflammation and clear debris from your eyes
- Oral medication to relieve inflammation
- Small punctal plugs painlessly inserted in the tear ducts to help preserve tears
- Placement of a temporary amniotic membrane device similar to a contact lens
If you’re using over the counter drops, it’s important to avoid those that relieve eye redness since they can irritate your eyes. Also, be careful to follow directions since those with preservatives should not be used more than four times a day.
For an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment for dry eye symptoms, schedule a visit with Mitchell C. Latter M.D., Inc. today. Call the office or request an appointment online.