Chronic dry eye

With review and feedback from CEENTA Ophthalmologist Priyanka Kanakamedala, MD (Concord, Huntersville, University)

Your eyes were dry, so you used some eye drops and felt better. But before long, they were dry again. And again. And again. Why do you constantly have dry eyes, and what can be done about them?

Dry eye syndrome

Your eyes getting dry because you were outside on a windy day is not the same as dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition where people don’t produce enough tears, or the appropriate quality tears, to keep their eyes healthy and comfortable.

How do I know if I have dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye symptoms include uncomfortable eyes, scratchiness, stinging, sensitivity to light, a sensation of something in the eyes, stringy mucus in or around the eyes, eye redness, difficulty wearing contact lenses, difficulty with nighttime driving, eye fatigue, and blurry vision.

Sometimes people will, ironically enough, experience excess tearing. This is the eye’s response to the discomfort from dry eye. When the eyes get irritated, the gland that makes tears releases a larger than usual volume of tears, which overwhelm the tear drainage system. These excess tears then overflow from your eyes.

Can chronic dry eye cause more problems?

If left untreated, dry eye can lead to eye infections, damage to the surface of the eye - such as inflammation or abrasion - and difficulty performing everyday activities.

How can I treat chronic dry eye?

In some case, over-the-counter eyedrops, gels, or ointments are enough to lubricate your eyes. If you have chronic dry eye you should use your drops regularly, even when your eyes don’t feel dry or irritated.

Priyanka Kanakamedala, MD

Avoidance techniques, like running a humidifier, not sitting too close to heat sources, and taking regular breaks while using a computer or tablet, can help keep your eyes from drying faster.

A diet high in vitamin A could help with dry eye prevention. Placing a warm washcloth over your eyes or wearing a Bruder mask - which are available at CEENTA - for 15 minutes can also help stimulate tear production.

In some cases, your doctor may place a plug to close your tear drainage channels or prescribe medicated eye drops, CEENTA cornea specialist Priyanka Kanakamedala, MD, said.

Dry eye care at CEENTA

Dry eye is a problem our eye doctors can help with. If your eyes are constantly irritated or uncomfortable, schedule an appointment with us today.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. You can now schedule an appointment online with Dr. Kanakamedala or any of our nearly 50 eye doctors in North and South Carolina. You can also schedule through myCEENTAchart or by calling 704-295-3000.


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