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5 signs you should see a doctor for dry eye

Are your eyes frequently dry? Do you struggle with frustrating symptoms or changes in your vision?

Dry eye can be caused by many factors, such as a side effect of a medication you're taking, an underlying condition, too much screen time or wearing contact lenses.

No matter the cause, it's important to know when to see an eye care professional (optometrist or ophthalmologist). Treating dry eyes will not only improve your discomfort but also help prevent lasting eye damage.

Here are 5 signs to consider scheduling an appointment:

  1. Symptoms persist or worsen following at-home treatment (e.g., warm compress, humidifier, artificial tears, reading glasses, reducing screen time)
  2. Burning, stinging, scratching or watery eyes, especially in windy conditions
  3. Fluctuating vision especially with a computer or digital device use, even after buying a high-quality pair of glasses
  4. Little relief from prescription eye drops, such as Restasis®
  5. Difficulty performing normal day-to-day activities

Dry eye occurs when your eyes either don't make enough tears to stay wet or when there's a lack of a natural oil component in your tears because of blocked (meibomian) glands in your eyelid. It can also occur due to poor eyelid position against the eyes or incomplete eyelid closure.

"Over time, the meibomian glands can become blocked, swollen and/or shrink in size. Once they are lost, they cannot be regained. In many patients, there are also eyelid conditions that contribute to dry eyes. Dry eyes is a chronic condition that must be controlled sooner than later," explains Gundersen Health System optometrist Angela Darveaux, OD. That's why she recommends the sooner patients can be seen for a medical eye exam, the better protection they'll have long-term.

Gundersen offers non-invasive treatment options (which restore the oil gland's function and decrease the risk of gland loss) and medication to manage dry eye disease.

To learn more, schedule an appointment at a Gundersen Eye Clinic near you.

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