Dry eyes are a common complaint, but there’s usually a clear cause and a straightforward solution to treating them. At his practice offices in Rochester Hills and Hazel Park, Michigan, board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Gerald J. Mullan diagnoses the underlying causes of dry eyes and improves your symptoms through lifestyle changes and medication as needed. To get treatment for dry eyes, call or use the online booking tool today.
Your tears are made up of oils, water, mucus, and proteins. Tears lubricate your eye and protect it from irritants. When your tears don’t provide enough moisture — either because you don’t produce enough or your tears don’t contain all the necessary components — you end up with dry eyes.
In addition to a noticeable feeling of dryness, dry eyes can cause uncomfortable symptoms, including:
When you regularly have dry eyes, your eyes become more vulnerable to infection and damage.
Dry eye can happen for many reasons. Factors that can cause you to produce low-quality or not enough tears include:
Some contact lens wearers find that contacts make their eyes feel dry, irritated, and scratchy, which usually means they need to try a different kind of contact lens or lens care product.
When you spend hours on end looking at screens, you don’t blink as much, causing tears to evaporate at a higher rate.
Tear production starts to drop around age 50.
Your eyes may dry out when you’re outdoors in a dry or windy environment, inside with air conditioning for extended periods of time, or when you’re exposed to smoke. Some people find their eyes get dry when they ride a bicycle or fly on an airplane.
Certain illnesses like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid conditions, and lupus can result in dry eyes.
Dry eyes are a side effect of many prescription and over-the-counter medications, including certain antihistamines, antidepressants, birth control pills, blood pressure medications, and decongestants.
Treatment for dry eyes usually depends at least in part on the underlying cause.
Dr. Mullan may perform an eye exam and evaluate the volume and quality of your tears to diagnose dry eye. He also asks about your medical history and when you experience symptoms to isolate what’s causing your symptoms. He may recommend, for example, switching to an alternate medication or to contact lenses designed specifically for people with dry eyes.
Lifestyle changes, including using a humidifier at home and taking regular breaks when you use a computer, can also make a significant difference in treating dry eyes.
Mild cases of dry eyes usually respond to over-the-counter lubricating eye drops. If you have moderate-to-severe dry eyes, he may recommend drugs to reduce eye inflammation or stimulate tear production.
To learn more about how to treat dry eyes, call or go online to book your appointment with Dr. Gerald J. Mullan today.