Dry eye occurs when the quantity and/or quality of tears fails to keep the surface of the eye adequately lubricated. This condition is common, affecting millions of adults in the United States. The risk of developing dry eye increases with advancing age. Although dry eye is generally more of an annoyance than cause for concern, there are cases where dry eye can be harmful to your vision and eye health. When left untreated, dry eye can cause light sensitivity and blurred vision. Eyes lacking moisture are also more susceptible to scratches or infection.
In order to stay healthy and comfortable, and to function properly, our eyes need to produce tears. If your eyes are unable to produce enough tears, or the right type of tears, this is what causes dry eye.
Dry eye causes a scratchy sensation or the feeling that something is in the eye. Other symptoms include stinging or burning, episodes of excess tearing that follow periods of dryness, discharge, pain and redness in the eye. People with dry eye may also feel as if their eyelids are heavy and may experience blurred vision.
Dry eye usually affects both eyes. Although uncommon, it is possible to experience dry eye in only one eye. In this case, the cause of the dry eye is most likely caused by a blocked tear duct. Sometimes both eyes are actually dry, but one is just more symptomatic.
It is important to speak with your eye doctor if you experience symptoms of dry eye, since it’s a condition that can worsen over time. It also may progress from occurring periodically to chronic, where symptoms are present continuously.
During an exam in Oceanside, Dr. Pendleton will help you determine the cause of your discomfort and will choose the appropriate treatment to get your eyes comfortable again. Contact Pendleton Eye to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.