For some people, eye dryness is a normal part of everyday life. Chronic dry eye can be caused by a person's genes, tear quality, inadequate tear production, or medication. It is not a condition that will resolve on its own without treatment. An ophthalmologist can assist anyone who suffers from dry eyes. Here's what you will experience when you undergo dry eye treatment:
1. Your ophthalmologist will perform a test to measure tear production.
When you visit your eye doctor complaining of dryness, your doctor will need to diagnose the cause. In order to do this, they will measure the amount of tears you produce. According to Healthline, a method called the Schirmer's test is often used. Your eyes will be numbed before a small piece of paper is placed beneath each of your eyelids. The paper will be allowed to soak up your tears for a few minutes, after which your tear production will be measured.
2. Your health will be taken into consideration.
Your eyes are just one part of your body, which functions as an interdependent system. Dry eyes are sometimes caused by underlying health problems or the medication used to treat those health problems. Certain types of arthritis can cause your eyes to become dry, as can allergies or antihistamine drugs. Your ophthalmologist may want to consult your medical records. If your eye doctor believes other health conditions are contributing to your symptoms, they may recommend you see your primary care physician for help managing those conditions before proceeding with dry eye treatment.
3. You will be prescribed eye drops.
If you have dry eyes, you probably already use moisturizing eye drops. These eye drops can alleviate symptoms, but they cannot provide long-lasting relief. Your ophthalmologist will write you a prescription for medicated eye drops which will increase your tear production. Medicated eye drops also have anti-inflammatory properties that can heal eyes that have begun to swell due to dryness. Over time, the use of medicated eye drops can reduce your discomfort and your reliance on moisturizing eye drops.
4. You may be recommended for corrective surgery.
If your eyes are not retaining tears for long enough, increased tear production may not be enough to treat your problem. In this case, your ophthalmologist may recommend that you have minor surgery. Punctal plugs are sometimes called tear plugs. They will be placed in your tear ducts during an outpatient procedure. Plugging your tear ducts will allow your own natural tears to more effectively lubricate your eyes.