Lowcountry Eye Specialists
Ophthalmologists located in Ladson, SC
When you've got dry eyes, they feel constantly gritty and irritated, it's hard to focus, and you might find it affects your vision as well. If you have dry eyes, or dry eye syndrome, board-certified ophthalmologists Jay Thompson, MD, and Phelan Piehota, DO, at Lowcountry Eye Specialists in Ladson, South Carolina, can help. They provide a range of effective solutions for dry eyes, including Restasis® drops and punctal plugs. To find the right treatment for your dry eyes, call Lowcountry Eye Specialists today or book an appointment online today.
Dry Eyes Q & A
What are dry eyes?
Dry eyes are a condition where the tears you produce are of poor quality, or you don't generate enough tears to keep your eye comfortable and healthy.
When you blink, you spread tears across the front surface of your eye. This creates a tear film that keeps the surface of your eye clear and smooth, and it’s necessary for good vision. The tear film has three layers:
- A watery layer that cleanses your eye
- An oily layer that stops the watery layer from evaporating
- A mucus layer that spreads tears evenly and keeps the eye moist
If there are problems with any of these layers, you might develop dry eyes symptoms.
What symptoms do dry eyes cause?
Symptoms of dry eyes may include:
- Grittiness or scratchiness
- Blurred vision
- Excessive tearing
Excessive tearing is a common problem with dry eyes. When your eyes aren't producing enough lubricating tears, they respond by leaking the types of tears that wash away irritants, which don't have the same consistency.
The drainage system in your eyes can't cope with all of these tears, so they overflow from your eye. This is why dry eyes often cause constantly watering eyes.
Why do I have dry eyes?
Some common causes of dry eyes include:
Hormonal changes such as menopause can reduce tear production.
Although anyone can develop dry eyes, the condition more often affects women.
Some medicines, particularly those for colds and allergies, can result in dry eyes.
Prolonged exposure to smoke, wind, or air conditioning can lead to dry eyes.
How are dry eyes treated?
Dry eyes are often a chronic problem, but your ophthalmologist at Lowcountry Eye Specialists offers treatments that increase your comfort levels, keep your eyes healthy, and stop dry eyes from affecting your vision. The primary treatments for dry eyes are:
Initial dry eye treatment typically involves using artificial tears. These tears are drops you put in your eyes whenever you need them to supplement your natural tears.
If artificial tears aren't resolving the problem, another approach the Lowcountry Eye Specialists team can use is to keep the natural tears in your eyes for longer.
Tears drain from your eyes through small openings called ducts into your nose. Your provider can block the tear ducts using tiny punctal plugs made from silicone, so your natural tears don't drain away so quickly. Punctal plugs are removable; an alternative is a surgery to close your tear ducts permanently.
Increasing tear production
Another treatment option for dry eyes that the Lowcountry Eye Specialists team uses is Restasis drops. These prescription eyedrops increase your ability to produce tears. For optimal results, you need to use Restasis twice daily. It may be 3-6 months before you notice an increase in tear production.
To find relief from your dry eyes, call Lowcountry Eye Specialists or request an appointment online today.