Dry eye is a condition that causes a lack of lubrication in the eye. The eyes need quality tears to stay healthy and to have clear vision. Many people suffer from dry eye today, especially seniors. This condition occurs in as much as 10 percent of the overall U.S. population today. People who have chronic dry eyes should see an eye doctor as soon as possible. There are highly effective treatments that can make life much more comfortable.
There are several ways that dry eye can be addressed medically. One method of treatment is the stimulation of new tears. This typically involves topical application of eye drops or ointment. It typically takes a month or more for the eyes to respond to this type of treatment, and it is usually necessary to keep using the topical treatment long term. In some cases, dry eye is treated with antibiotics or with an antibiotic and steroid combination ointment or drops. Less commonly, antibiotics may be taken orally. The simplest treatment for dry eye is the replacement of tears using eye drops until the eyes resume sufficient tear secretion on their own. This is usually best for people who have only a short term issue with dry eye. As long as dry eye is diagnosed and treated promptly, patients can avoid having serious complications like corneal scarring.
Long days with insufficient sleep, prolonged use of contact lenses, and exposure to very dry environments such as airplane cabins are all possible risk factors for dry eye. People who work in "clean room" type environments like operating rooms may have an elevated risk of developing dry eye. There may be times that the dry eye can't be traced to a clear stimulus, as well.
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