Everyone occasionally has scratchy eyes, but 7% of adults struggle with the burning and irritation caused by dry eyes. When dry eyes become a constant problem, you have a serious condition that can cause infections, corneal ulcers, and vision loss. Experienced ophthalmologist Troy L. Carter, M.D., in Abilene, Texas, offers comprehensive care for dry eyes, targeting the underlying cause, providing artificial tears and medicated eye drops, and ensuring you have customized treatment that restores healthy tears. If you develop dry eyes, call Texas Midwest Eye Center, LLP or book an appointment online today.
Your tears do more than let you cry or cause watery eyes. They lubricate your eyes, provide oxygen and nutrients that keep the cornea healthy, and protect your eyes from dust and germs.
When your tears evaporate too quickly, or your body doesn't produce enough tears to maintain a constant film over your eyes, you have a condition called dry eyes.
You can develop dry eyes for many reasons, including:
Taking certain medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, and medicines for high blood pressure and heartburn can also reduce tear production.
Dry eyes cause symptoms such as:
You can also have dry eyes that are too watery. Though that seems contrary to dry eyes, it happens because your eyes respond to the irritation by producing more tears.
The longer you have dry eyes, the higher your risk of developing more serious problems such as inflammation, corneal abrasion, corneal ulcers, and vision problems.
When treating dry eyes, Dr. Carter takes different approaches:
When an eye problem causes dry eyes, the first step is treating the underlying condition. One of the top causes of dry eyes, meibomian gland dysfunction, occurs when glands in your eyelids get plugged up.
As a result, your tears don't get one of their vital components, and they evaporate too quickly. In many cases, hot compresses loosen the blocked oils and restore normal tears.
If you have a mild dry eye problem, you may get enough relief from using artificial tears.
In some cases, Dr. Carter prescribes medicated eye drops that increase your tear production. Alternatively, he may recommend taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements. They may improve your dry eyes enough that you don't need artificial tears. Dr. Carter offers high-quality omega-3 supplements and artificial tears in the office.
Dr. Carter can block the ducts that let tears drain out of your eyes. He may insert a small removable plug at first, and if it helps, he can perform surgery to permanently close the duct.
When you need relief from dry, irritated eyes, call the office of Troy L. Carter, M.D., or book an appointment online today.