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Chronically dry eyes can be due to aging, medications, eye strain, inadequate tear production or other disorders affecting your eyes' ability to retain moisture. To diagnose and treat dry eye, your optometrist in Ashburn will examine your eyes with special optometry devices capable of discovering problems affecting tear glands and the chemical composition of tears. In addition, eye exams can also detect undiagnosed diseases that may affect fluid levels in the eyes by evaluating the condition of blood vessels within the eye.
To determine what is causing dry eye, your eye doctor will perform a series of tests after ruling out dry eye due to medications, simple aging, hormone/menopause issues or eye strain. Schirmer's test evaluates how fast your eyes produce tears while the tear film breakup time test (TBUT) analyzes how long your tears last before they evaporate. Other dry eye tests include the Ocular Surface Disease Index, meibomian gland grading, tear osmolarity and conjunctival/corneal staining.
One of the most common causes of dry eye is taking medications that contribute to reduced soft tissue fluid levels. Taking beta-blockers, antihistamines, antidepressants and sedatives regularly will often cause dry eye. Other reasons for chronic dry eye include deficiency/absence of tears and impairment of tear gland functioning (xerophthalmia) typically related to systemic lupus, Sjogren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis or certain vitamin deficiencies. Structural abnormalities of the eyelid may also contribute to dry eye by interfering with blinking, an activity essential to maintaining overall eye moisture retention and fluidity.
Artificial tears prescribed by your Ashburn optometrist can help relieve dry eye symptoms such as stinging, itching, burning, blurry vision and redness. Oral tetracycline and topical corticosteroids may increase fluid content in some people suffering dry eye as well.
Severe cases of dry eye involving abnormalities in the way your eye drains fluid may require insertion of plugs into drainage passageways (puncta) to increase retention of fluid in your eyes. Punctal plugs raise moisture content in your eyes by preventing fluids from draining into sinus passageways.
If punctal plugs do not work, punctal lasering (cauterization) to close drainage passageways may be recommended by your optometrist.
Neglecting to have dry eye treated may result in corneal abrasions or scarring since tear insufficiency cannot effectively remove debris from the eye. Schedule an appointment today for dry eye testing at our Ashburn optometry office today by calling (703) 687-4719. We also serve the areas of Waxpool, Brambleton, Sterling, Broadlands and Lansdowne.