Tears aren’t just something you see when you cry. You may not give much thought to your eyes overall, but we assume that most people know there is a tear film that is always present, keeping the surface of the eye lubricated and functional. Chances are you’ve experienced dry eyes at least once in your life. The burning and gritty feeling may have developed when you were reading a good book or when you were engrossed in your social media feed. Often, people encounter eye irritation when they stare at their computer for minutes on end. Because the symptoms of dry eye often relate to digital device use, the whole concept of dry eye disease may be completely overlooked.
What is Dry Eye Disease?
The condition in which the surface of the eyes is chronically or frequency dry to the point of obvious symptoms may be diagnosed as dry eye disease. The symptoms that indicate your eyes are excessively dry include stinging or burning, the sensation that something is in your eye, a desire to rub the eyes, eye pain, excessive watering, and grittiness. These sensations may vary from mildly annoying to nearly debilitating. According to one study, dry eye disease can be as disruptive to a person’s overall quality of life as angina symptoms.
Diagnosing Dry Eye Disease
The primary challenge in treating dry eye disease is that so many who have this condition don’t seek help. Actress Jennifer Aniston confessed that she had lived with the severe symptoms of dry eye disease for years before she understood that her condition was not normal. For her, the use of eye drops to lubricate her eyes had become the norm. That is, until she received the professional care she needed to resolve her symptoms.
Dr. Croley can help you determine where your dry eye symptoms originate by performing specific diagnostic screenings. While we can learn a lot from discussing your symptoms with you, tests help us understand why they are happening. For example, a Schirmer test can be conducted to measure how much tear film is being produced by the glands in your eyes. A tear osmolarity test tells us how much salt is in your tear film, and a tear breakup test demonstrates the rate of tear evaporation. Each of these indicators helps us develop the right treatment plan for your unique situation.
Are you ready to get your quality of life back from dry eye disease? Contact our Ocala office at (352) 237-8400 to schedule a consultation.