Though not usually a vision-threatening condition, dry eye can be severe enough to cause time off work or transform day-to-day tasks into complex trials.
At Nicola Eye Care we are dedicated to diagnosing and treating your symptoms and getting you back to your best as quickly as possible. If you are struggling with the dry, sore and itchy pains of dry eye, then we recommend an eye health exam – we’ll examine your condition and start a treatment plan to alleviate pain, reduce discomfort and tackle all other symptoms.
Dry eye is often a chronic condition, so the sooner we start treatment, the smaller its impact will be on your long-term ocular health.
All dry eye symptoms are caused by a lack of lubrication on the eye. The cause of this dryness, however, varies considerably. A common problem is that tear production is low, so the eyes aren’t getting the usual amount of liquid, or the tears don’t have the right consistency, causing them to evaporate too quickly.
In addition, there is often an environmental factor. Arid (aka dry, non-humid) weather, especially when coupled with wind, can whisk the moisture from our eyes. Since the wind often carried small particles of dust or grid, irritation is almost inevitable. Our dry climate and often windy conditions mean that many of us who call Kamloops home suffer from varying degrees of dry eye.
Unfortunately dry eye is often a chronic condition, which means there is no cure – in some patients it will recur, on and off, for their entire lifetime. The best we can offer is to design a treatment and management plan to keep your eyes hydrated and healthy.
The most common dry eye symptoms are:
Dry eye does not usually cause long-term vision problems. However, if left untreated, the severe dryness of the eyeball can eventually lead to scarring on its surface. If your corneal tissue becomes scarred, vision may be partially, and permanently, impaired.
These eye drops are designed to simulate tears, and can be purchased without a prescription. Artificial tears offer temporary relief from dry eye symptoms, but probably won’t be of much help in the long term. Still, you may want to try artificial tears as a short term solution.
Your optometrist may give you a prescription for eye drops. Instead of just acting as tears do, this medication can actually stimulate your body’s natural tear production. Taking these drops daily may be the key to long term relief from your dry eye symptoms. These kinds of eye drops are not available over the counter - you will need a prescription.
This slow release lubricant comes in the form of a very small solid tablet. The tablet is inserted under the lower eyelid and slowly dissolves throughout the day; providing daily relief from dry eye. This treatment is usually recommended for patients with moderate to severe dry eye symptoms.
Because dry eye is often the result of tears evaporating too quickly, plugging the tear drainage ducts can sometimes solve the problem. Punctal plugs are implanted in the tear drainage ducts, allowing tears to evaporate naturally, and alleviating dry eye symptoms. If the patient finds their eyes are now watering too much, the plugs can be removed.
You can find us on the corner of St Paul St and 3rd Ave. We are 3 blocks down 3rd Ave from Royal Inland Hospital, towards downtown. Our office is across the street from the Telus Store and Stuart Wood school yard (where the summer Farmer’s Market is on Saturdays).