Do your eyes sometimes sting and burn, feel gritty or tear excessively? Have these symptoms become even worse with the onset of cold weather? If so, you may have dry eyes. Do not worry...you are not alone. About 59 million Americans suffer from dry eyes. The condition is more common in women and in those over 65 years of age. The symptoms are worse in the winter, when you are out in the wind, after reading for a while or after extended computer use. The problem starts with poor quality tears. Your tears have oil, water and mucus in them and the proportions change with time. This leaves the surface of the eye dry, stimulating the tear glands to produce more watery tears.
To help alleviate the symptoms, our first line of treatment is tear replacement with over-the-counter artificial tears. Do not be intimidated by the wide variety of tears to choose from on the store shelves. You may have to try a few of them to find your preferred choice. If that does not work, we can try punctal plugs to block the tears you have from leaving the eye. These tiny “corks” can be placed easily in the office and are often quite successful. Another route is the use of prescription drops such as Restasis that change the quality of your tears so they coat the eye more effectively.
Don’t try to diagnose yourself, however. If you think you have some of the symptoms above you should schedule a comprehensive eye examination. We will thoroughly evaluate your eyes and your vision and determine the appropriate remedy for your situation. We can help – don’t let dry eyes defeat you!
Dr. Josephine-Liezl Cueto is a board certified ophthalmologist specializing in medical and surgical eye care such as dry eyes, cataract surgery, glaucoma care and more. For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com.