Dry Eye Evaluation, Northport, AL 

Dry eye, also known as dry eye disease or dry eye syndrome, occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears, or your tears evaporate too quickly. At Tuscaloosa EyeCare in Northport, Pickens County EyeCare in Reform, and Hale County EyeCare in Greensboro, we specialize in diagnosing dry eye and providing personalized treatment for long-lasting relief. Our approach to managing dry eye disease goes beyond just treating the symptoms; we focus on addressing the root cause and promoting long-term eye health. 

What are the symptoms of dry eye disease?  

Symptoms of dry eye disease can range from mild to severe and may include:  

  • Eye discomfort or pain  
  • A burning or stinging sensation  
  • Itching  
  • Redness  
  • A feeling of grittiness or the presence of sand in the eyes  
  • Blurred vision  
  • Sensitivity to light  
  • Increased tear production (watery eyes)  

What causes dry eye disease?  

By understanding the underlying causes of your dry eye, you can work with your eye doctor to develop a customized treatment plan that works for you. Some common causes of dry eye include: 

Meibomian gland dysfunction 

One of the most common causes of dry eye is meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). Meibomian glands are tiny oil-producing glands located in the eyelids. These glands produce an oil called meibum, which helps keep the eyes moist and prevents tears from evaporating too quickly. When the meibomian glands are blocked, this can lead to oil buildup, which can cause irritation and eventually lead to dry eyes. 

Demodex mites 

Demodex mites are tiny parasites that we all carry on our skin. They are commonly found in hair follicles, especially in the eyelashes. While these mites are typically harmless and can even be beneficial in small numbers, they can cause various skin and eye problems if their population grows excessively. When Demodex mites multiply excessively, they can clog the oil glands in your eyelids and cause dry eye symptoms.  

Blepharitis 

Blepharitis is when your eyelids become red and swollen. The most common cause of blepharitis is bacterial growth, which can clog and irritate the oil glands. Other causes include allergies, blocked hair follicles, or even eyelash mites. If left untreated, blepharitis can lead to dry eye syndrome. 

Environmental Factors

Many environmental factors can contribute to dry eyes, including wind, dry air, heating systems, and air conditioning. 

Certain medical conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome, can lead to dry eye disease. 

Gender

Women are more likely to develop dry eyes due to hormonal changes during different stages of their lives, including pregnancy, taking birth control, and menopause.

Aging  

As we age, our eyes produce less oil and natural tears, which can lead to dryness. 

Medications

Some medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and birth control pills, can cause dry eye. 

Cosmetics 

Cosmetics such as eyeshadow, mascara, and eyeliner can contribute to dry eye syndrome. Some cosmetics contain ingredients that can cause or worsen dry eyes, such as talc, parabens, and waterproofing agents. In addition, eye makeup can clog the meibomian glands, which produce the oil layer of our tear film. When this gland is blocked, it compromises the oil layer, causing an unstable tear film and resulting in dry eyes. 

Digital eye strain 

When you stare at screens for long periods, you tend to blink less, causing your eyes to dry out. 

Evaluation for dry eye disease   

Our eye doctors use advanced diagnostic technology to detect signs of dry eye disease and determine the underlying cause. This helps us develop the most effective treatment plans to relieve your discomfort and improve your overall eye health.  

Treatment for dry eye disease 

Treatment for dry eye disease will depend on the severity of your symptoms and what’s causing them. Dry eye can often be a chronic condition, requiring ongoing management and professional care. We provide customized treatment plans that are designed to keep your eyes healthy, reduce dryness and discomfort, and protect your vision from any potential complications. 

Our treatment options include: 

  • Prescription eye drops to combat inflammation   
  • Treating oil glands   
  • Punctal plugs 
  • Blinking exercises or proper eyelid hygiene   
  • Low-dose antibiotics if an infection is causing the issue   

We also offer the following treatments for dry eye: 

Schedule a dry eye evaluation  

Dry eye can be debilitating, but you don’t have to live in discomfort. Our skilled eye doctors in Northport, Reform, and Greensboro are ready to provide treatment to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable. Whether you’re dealing with occasional discomfort or severe symptoms, we’re here to help! Contact us today to schedule a dry eye evaluation.