Can an Optometrist Treat Dry Eye?
If you are experiencing chronic dry eyes and over the counter eye drops are not sufficiently supplementing your eye’s natural tear production, your next course of action should be to see an eye doctor. When you schedule an appointment with one of our experienced optometrists at Pendleton Eye, we can provide tests to measure the quantity and quality of your tears to determine what is causing your dry eye symptoms.
Can an optometrist treat dry eye? Yes. Optometrists are trained and qualified to provide treatment options to ensure the health and comfort of your eyes as well as prevent any adverse effects to your vision. The main difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist is that an optometrist does not have the credentials to perform surgery. Surgery for dry eyes is considered rare so for initial treatment it is simply a matter of preference whether you choose to be seen by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Types of surgery for severe dry eyes include the closing of the tear ducts, intense pulsed light therapy, laser eye surgery such as LASIK or amniotic membrane implant. Punctal plugs, thermal cautery and salivary gland transplantation are more intense surgery options used to treat dry eyes but are considered only as a final option when other remedies are unsuitable for dry eyes.
In general, dry eyes are uncomfortable but harmless. Your eye doctor will ask you what symptoms you may be experiencing which will likely be one or more of the following: redness, irritation, the feeling that something is in your eye, a lack of tear production, an overabundance of tear production, stringy mucus on the eye, a stinging or burning sensation, blurred vision or eye fatigue, sensitivity to light and difficulty wearing contact lenses. The 3 main reasons for dry eye symptoms are low quality tears, tears that dry up too quickly, and the lack of tear production from the lacrimal glands to properly lubricate the eye. Contributing factors for dry eye include aging, allergies, certain medications, excessive screen time, vitamin A deficiency, climate conditions such as wind and low humidity, smoking or being in the presence of cigarette smoke, Sjogren’s syndrome and long-term wearing of contact lenses.
Eyes require adequate lubrication for proper health and vision. If tear ducts are not working properly and the eyes are perpetually dry, this can lead to damage to the sclera, cornea or other tissues in the eye. Your eye doctor can easily perform a series of tests to determine the cause and severity of your dry eye symptoms. These diagnostic tests are known as the Schirmer’s test, TearLab, Phenol Red Thread test, InflammaDry, Lipiscan and a Tear Break Up Timing test.
Dry eye solutions are just a click WEBSITE or call away at 760-758-2008. Pendleton Eye can provide you with treatment options to diagnose the cause of and alleviate the discomfort of dry eye symptoms.