With more than 3 million new cases of dry eye syndrome occurring in the United States each year, dry eyes are one of the most common and under diagnosed problems we treat at our optometry office. With our thorough dry eye exams and a variety of treatment options, we can help you diagnose this uncomfortable condition so that you can get the relief you need.
If you think you might be suffering from dry eye syndrome, schedule a professional dry eye evaluation with our St. Petersburg eye doctor by calling 727-327-8855 today.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is a condition that occurs when your eyes do no not produce enough natural tears or the quality of your tears is not sufficient to keep your eyes lubricated. It is an extremely common condition, affecting roughly 30 million Americans. The risk of suffering from dry eye syndrome increases with age and is most common among adults over the age of 50 years.
Dry Eye Symptoms – You might be suffering from dry eye syndrome if you experience eye-related symptoms such as:
- Persistent discomfort due to dryness
- Watering of the eyes
- Burning or itching sensations
- Soreness or frequent feelings of heavy, achy or fatigued eyes
- Eyes that appear red
- Light sensitivity (also known as photophobia)
- Eyes that get tired after periods of computer use or reading
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
The best way to determine if you are suffering from dry eyes is to undergo a professional exam. At Ryczek Eye Associates, we offer comprehensive dry eye evaluations with the safest and most advanced methods to provide you with accurate results and effective treatment options.
Our Dry Eye Exams
Dry eye syndrome can be detected during our medical eye exams, but to most accurately diagnose your condition so you get the best possible treatment, Dr. Ryczek will need to perform more comprehensive dry eye tests. To determine the cause and severity of your dry eyes, our exams may include:
- An external examination of your eye that includes lid structure and blink dynamics
- An evaluation of your eyelids and cornea using bright light and magnification
- Tear quantity and quality measurements using special dyes that are put in the eyes to better observe tear flow and surface abnormalities
- An assessment of your overall well-being and health history to determine if any general health problems, medications or environmental factors could be contributing to your dry eye problem
Based on the results of your dry eye examination, Dr. Ryczek can help you determine which treatment method is right for you.
Treatment Options for Dry Eye Syndrome
Depending on the severity of your condition and the cause of your dry eyes, Dr. Ryczek may recommend a number of different treatment options including:
- Over-the-counter artificial tears – Usually the first step in dry eye treatment, many brands of artificial tears and gels are available without a prescription. Depending on your unique needs, Dr. Ryczek can recommend the best options for your condition.
- Prescription eye drops – For patients with moderate to severe dry eyes, Restasis® eye drops can facilitate the production of natural tears and can be used individually or combined with other treatments.
- Punctal plugs – To slow or stop tear drainage from the eye, dissolvable or semi-permanent punctal plugs can be inserted.
- Oral antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drops – Steroid drops and oral antibiotics might be necessary if you suffer from underlying issues with inflammation or infection.
- Environmental changes – Maintaining proper humidity levels in your home or workplace and reducing your exposure to fans and heat ducts can help reduce symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
- Dietary alterations – Sometimes increasing your consumption of oily fish, drinking more water and taking flax seed oil as a dietary supplement can improve tear film deficiencies.
- Systemic testing – If Dr. Ryczek suspects an underlying condition to be the cause of your dry eyes, he may suggest systemic testing to better determine how to address your needs.
The best way to determine how to treat your dry eye syndrome is to schedule an appointment with our experienced optometrist.
To find out more about the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye syndrome in St. Petersburg, call 727-327-8855 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ryczek today.