Q: Is it true that Dry Eye symptoms seem to be more severe in the winter than in the warmer spring and summer months?
Dry eye is always worse during dry parts of the year. Here in San Diego, it can be dry almost year-round. Symptoms also tend to worsen when people are really depending on their heaters or air conditioners, which tend to create drier air in our indoor environments.
Q: When should a person come in to see their optometrist for Dry Eye symptoms and when is it enough to take care of this problem yourself?
If your symptoms (chronic redness, burning, stinging, excessive watering, extreme eye fatigue especially at the end of the day) are not improving or are worsening despite your best efforts to treat them, a visit to the optometrist is definitely warranted. Even in mild cases we can give proper guidance on a regimen to minimize your symptoms and keep you comfortable.
Q: I have a friend in whose eyes are frequently overly watery. That isn’t Dry Eye, is it?
It can be. The eye’s natural response to dryness and irritation is often to water excessively which causes tearing.
Q: What are the typical treatments used to help people suffering from Dry Eyes?
For mild cases, a regimen including over-the-counter artificial tears, Omega 3 supplements, and certain lifestyle modifications may be sufficient. More moderate to severe cases often require prescription eye drops to help reduce inflammation and improve tear production. We can also perform a procedure to temporarily (or in some cases permanently) occlude the tear ducts in order to improve dry eye symptoms.
Q: Are some people more prone to having Dry Eyes than others?
People who stare at a screen, tablet, or mobile device for long hours regularly are more prone to dry eye. Unfortunately this tends to be a large portion of the population these days. Dry eye is also more prevalent in women and in people over the age of 45. People who take medication regularly for allergies, depression, and acne may experience dry eye symptoms related to their medication.