There are millions of Americans that suffer from dry eye, most of them do not even know it. These people experience things like stinging and burning, redness, grittiness and other symptoms, in fact, dry eye is among the most common complaints for eye patients. For some, these symptoms come and go, but untreated, long-term dry eye syndrome can cause serious, irreversible damage to your eyes.
Dry eye occurs when the eyes fail to produce the necessary tear film to keep the surface of the eyes lubricated. There are several things that can cause dry eye including environmental factors and malfunction of the structures responsible for producing tear elements, such as the meibomian glands.
Without sufficient tear film, irritation can translate to scratches on the cornea, the clear, dome-shaped surface in front of the iris. The cornea is a critical component of the eye, protecting it from dust, germs and other dangerous elements. The cornea is also responsible for screening out harmful UV rays.
Over time, corneal scratches due to dry eye can produce scarring and result in permanent vision loss. In extreme cases, the entire eye can be lost.
It’s important to be examined by an eye doctor when dry eye symptoms persist for more than a couple days or when symptoms worsen. Your physician will perform a series of simple tests to diagnose dry eye and will prescribe a treatment plan based on your specific needs.
If you think that you have dry eye syndrome, schedule an appointment with Dr. Zehnder and Advanced EyeCare Associates today.