Ohhhhh, ewwwww, owwwww that feeling when there’s something in your eye. And you’re looking but can’t see it. One of life’s little irritations, but it can signal something more—like dry eye. National Eye Institute reports that more than 100 million people worldwide (30 million in the U.S.) suffer from this persistently painful disease.
San Jose, like most of the Bay area, has a Mediterranean climate with an average of 301 days of sunshine per year. Yay! But, because it lies inland surrounded on three sides by mountains and no oceanfront, San Jose is more sheltered from rain, giving it a semi-arid, or dry feel. Furthermore, allergies could be to blame and should be treated. And if it’s dry eye, we need to explore the symptoms, causes and the courses for relief.
Symptoms of dry eye may include:
- Blurred vision
- Excessive dryness
- Light sensitivity
- Believe It or Not, Watery Eyes
The causes of dry eye directly affect the tear production process: The quantity and/or quality of tears fails to keep the surface of the eye adequately lubricated. Chronic dry eye makes itself at home in San Jose, where the climate lacks moisture. Conversely, dry eye syndrome can cause watery eyes, because the excessive dryness can overstimulate the production of tears. If left untreated, chronic dry eye can lead to anything from minor irritation to the inability to wear contact lenses. It can even lead to an increased risk of corneal inflammation and eye infections.
What Else Can We Blame on Dry Eye?
- Doing near work (emailing, texting, working, gaming) on computers and smartphones for prolonged periods of time can reduce the rate of blinking, which, in turn, reduces natural tear lubrication
- Wearing contacts and changing them frequently
- Environmental factors such as sitting in an air-conditioned room for too long, and weather conditions including excessive sun, wind, hot dry air or high altitude which can cause rapid evaporation of the eye’s tear film
- Medical conditions, seasonal allergies, certain eye diseases and autoimmune disorders can be associated with the disease
- Advancing age (50 and older) is a risk factor for reduced tear production
- Women are more likely to develop dry eye due to hormonal changes (that impact tear production) linked to menstruation, pregnancy or menopause
- Some medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines, beta-blockers and diuretics can exacerbate dry eyes
Finding Relief for Dry Eye
San Jose dry eye specialists at Eye Medical Clinic will perform diagnostics, including ocular allergy testing, to determine the source of your symptoms. Thorough testing is necessary to design the best course of treatment and relief customized to your individual needs and issues. You can say goodbye to dry eye through a number of options available at Eye Medical Clinic.
We offer scleral lenses—a hard contact, slightly larger than a typical contact lens—that holds a supply of tears next to the cornea, reducing uncomfortable symptoms and improving visual acuity.
Another consideration for more chronic dry eyes are punctal plugs; these are tiny devices gently inserted into your eyelids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes. In short, they bring back the moisture.
Prokera/Bio-D is a high-science contact lens made with amniotic membranes with special anti-microbial properties. One of our highly skilled specialists will gently place the amniotic membrane onto your eye and cover it with a clear, soft, disposable contact lens to hold the amniotic tissue in place. After a few days, the membrane fully dissolves and the contact is removed. As a result, the cornea absorbs the “watery” nutrients and it’s goodbye dry eye.
The great news here, too, is that most insurance plans cover the procedures we offer at Eye Medical Clinic. Don’t wait in pain and constant irritation. Schedule a free initial dry eye consultation today.