We had the opportunity to ask Dr. Rocio Alicea from Veo Vision in Orange, CT about Dry Eyes. Here is what we learned.
Q: Is it true that Dry Eye symptoms seem to be more severe in the winter than in the warmer spring and summer months?
Yes, definitely. During my years of experience the burning and gravel sensation will get worse during the winter due to the cold, crisp morning and the central heating. The eyes get drier, similar to our skin that gets drier too.
Q: When should a person come in to see their optometrist for Dry Eye symptoms and when is it enough to take care of this problem yourself?
As soon as you start getting dry eye symptoms you should see the eye doctor. The dry eye symptoms would include a stinging, burning or scratchy feeling in your eyes. Watery eyes, which is the body's response to the irritation of dry eyes
Q: What is the examination like to determine whether someone is suffering from Dry Eyes?
The Schirmer's test is primarily used to diagnose dry eye syndrome. The schirmer’s test is a way to quantify if your eyes are producing enough healthy tears. Another test would be the Tear breakup time (TBUT). Tear breakup time (TBUT) is a clinical test used to assess for evaporative dry eye disease. To measure TBUT, fluorescein is instilled into the patient's tear film and the patient is asked not to blink while the tear film is observed under a broad beam of cobalt blue illumination.
Q: I have a friend in whose eyes are frequently overly watery. That isn't Dry Eye, is it?
Yes, it could be. Like I explained before the eyes can water as a mechanism to respond to the dryness. Another reason to the watery it could be that the tears are not draining efficiently due to a nasolacrimal duct obstruction.
Q: What are the typical treatments used to help people suffering from Dry Eyes?
- prescription eye drops or ointments
- artificial tears
- warm compresses on the eyes
- massaging your eyelids
Q: Are some people more prone to having Dry Eyes than others?
There are multiple risk factors including age, gender (women are more prone due to the decline of hormones after menopause), medications, and systemic conditions
Q: Do you have any recommendations for people to help them avoid Dry Eye issues?
Use humidifier especially during the wintertime, you could have the humidifier at home or at the workplace. Rest your eyes when using the computer and reading. Use warm compresses then wash your eyes. Try an omega-3 fatty acid supplement.