Complications of Dry Eye

Complications of Dry Eye

About 16 million Americans have been diagnosed with dry eye, a chronic condition that tends to become more common as we age. Some research indicates that number is probably much higher, with dry eye affecting nearly half of American adults.

If you have dry eye, it’s tempting to think that all you need is over-the-counter eye drops to keep symptoms at bay. But without medical attention and treatment, dry eye can lead to other eye problems, including serious issues associated with permanent vision loss.

At Rostami OPC in Reston, Virginia, Soheila Rostami, MD, treats dry eye using the most advanced techniques, tailoring every treatment to the individual patient’s unique needs, relieving symptoms and helping to prevent serious vision problems. 

If you suffer from dry eye, here’s why it’s so important to get medical treatment as soon as possible.

The important role of tears

It’s tempting to think of tears as no more than a manifestation of sadness, but your tears do a lot more than express emotion. 

Washing over your eyes with every blink you take, your tears help wash away dirt, germs, and other impurities that can damage your eyes and your vision. Dry eye happens when there’s a problem with your tears or with the way they’re dispersed. 

If your tears are of poor quality, they won’t lubricate the way they should, or they may evaporate too quickly. At other times, your tear ducts or glands might not be working the way they’re supposed to, which means you won’t be producing or distributing enough tears to protect your eyes.

Dry eye causes symptom like:

If you have dry eyes, you might find that your contact lenses are very uncomfortable, or you might find it hard to see while driving at night. Without medical treatment, you’re also putting yourself at risk of serious complications.

Dry eye complications

Considering the important role your tears play in maintaining eye health, it’s not surprising that when there’s a problem with your tears, you can develop other problems, as well.

Conjunctivitis

The conjunctiva is a thin layer of cells covering the surface of your eye. If you have dry eye, this layer can become irritated and inflamed, leading to conjunctivitis. Symptoms of conjunctivitis include:

These symptoms can be exacerbated in people with chronic dry eye.

Corneal sores 

Lack of tears allows tiny bits of grit or dirt to remain on your eye surface. When you blink, those particles can scratch your cornea, causing sores (or ulcers) that can lead to serious, deep infections and permanent vision loss.

Eye infections

When your eyes don’t produce enough tears, or when the tears they produce are watery or evaporate too quickly, your eyes aren’t getting the protection they need to wash away germs. That means you’re more likely to get infections — and that risk rises even more if your corneas are scratched or damaged.

Decreased quality of life

Dry eyes can make it hard to read, drive, use a computer and perform other tasks. Without treatment, these changes can take a toll on your quality of life. Research shows that over time, lower quality of life associated with untreated dry eye can also lead to increased levels of stress and depression.

Don’t ignore dry eye

Dry eyes are more than an annoyance. Without treatment, they can wind up threatening your vision and your eye health.

If you have dry eye symptoms, having a comprehensive eye exam is the best way to make sure you get the treatment you need to maintain your vision. To schedule your exam, call or book an appointment online today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Botox vs. Dysport: How Are They Different?

Both Botox® and Dysport® are great at smoothing out dynamic wrinkles — lines made by facial movements. But they do differ slightly. Here’s how to decide which one is a better choice for helping you reach your goals.

How to Reduce Your Eye Bags Without Surgery

Eye bags become a lot more common as we get older, and unfortunately, they make us look a lot older too. Surgery can help some types of eye bags, but it’s not always necessary. In fact, many people benefit from numerous nonsurgical options.

What Causes an Inverted Eyelid?

Entropion develops when your eyelid turns inward. No big deal, right? Wrong. Without treatment, it can lead to infections and vision loss. Here’s why entropion happens and how our team can help you avoid its complications.

Help for Your Distichiasis

People with distichiasis have double eyelashes. It might sound attractive, but it can actually cause a lot of problems with your eyes and your vision. Here’s how we can help.

Why Is My Skin Sagging?

Sagging skin is one of the first signs of aging skin, leading to loose jowls, wrinkles, and facial lines. Our team can help tighten loose, lax skin without surgery or invasive therapies. Here’s how they can help you too.