Answering Common Questions About Dry Eye
If you suffer from dry eye, then you know how uncomfortable and frustrating the condition can be. Fortunately, you don’t have to simply accept your symptoms. There are many things your eye doctor in Chicago can do to help you get the relief you need. Here are the answers to questions dry eye sufferers often have about their conditions, including what kind of eye care can help with the symptoms.
Is dry eye a medical condition?
Although your eyes can feel dry for a number of different reasons, chronic dry eye is a medical condition that occurs when there is a problem with the amount or quality of tears that your eye produces. You can also develop chronic dry eye if there is a problem with the tear film in your eyes. There are several different factors that can trigger chronic dry eye, including hormonal changes and inflammation in your eyes. Some health conditions, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus, can also increase the risk of developing dry eye.
What are the symptoms?
Dry, itchy eyes are the most obvious symptoms of dry eye, but there are other signs, as well. You may notice that you constantly feel like something is caught in your eye or that your eyes burn. You may also experience blurry vision and sensitivity to light, and struggle to see when you’re driving at night. If you wear contacts, they may feel uncomfortable. Some people don’t experience dry eyes at all but have watery eyes, instead. This is usually because the eyes are trying to overcompensate for dryness by producing more tears.
Are treatments available?
If you think you could have chronic dry eye, it’s important to see your eye doctor as soon as possible. Dry eye is a progressive disease and could affect your vision if left untreated. There are several treatment options available that can slow the progression of your symptoms and protect your eyesight, including artificial tears, prescription medications, and tear duct plugs. Your eye doctor will determine which treatments are right for you based on your symptoms and the condition of your eyes.
Millions of Americans suffer from poor eyesight due to cataracts, but many will enjoy restored vision after undergoing surgery for intraocular lenses or IOLs. If you’re planning to see an ophthalmologist for intraocular implants in Chicago , then keep reading to learn what you should consider when selecting the right IOLs for you.
There are several types of IOLs, and not all are covered by insurance. However, the cost of the most traditional option, which is a monofocal lens, is covered by most insurance companies and Medicare. For this reason, if the cost of your IOLs will affect your decision, then this option may be best for you. Monofocal lenses are made to provide patients with the best possible corrected vision at near, far, or intermediate distances.
If you spend a significant amount of time using a computer, tablet, or smart phone, then your ophthalmologist may recommend monofocal intraocular lenses that are set to provide you with monovision. In this situation, one lens is designed to provide near vision and the other one distance vision. However, if you want results that provide you crisp vision, then a monovision approach may not be for you.
If you’re hoping to eliminate the need for glasses by undergoing cataract surgery, then your doctor may recommend multifocal lenses. These are a newer variety of IOLs that may be able to correct both distance and near vision for the patient, as well as reduce or eliminate the need for eyeglasses. These IOLs are quite expensive and are rarely completely covered by insurance.
Toric IOLs are intraocular lenses that provide the wearer with added correction for astigmatism. Commonly, people who have moderate to advanced astigmatism prefer toric IOLs, but these may not be fully covered by insurance.
If it’s important for you to be able to drive at night, then consider that multifocal lenses can have side effects like decreased contrast sensitivity, glare, and halos around lights. If you regularly drive at night, then monofocal IOLs may be the better choice for you.
Sports are a great way to get physically fit and connect with peers, but these activities are also risky. Thousands of sports-related eye injuries are reported each year in the U.S. Many of these are preventable. During Sports Eye Safety Month this April, talk to an eye doctor in Chicago about protecting your vision. Your ophthalmologist can help you learn about the potential risks of your favorite sports and how to reduce these risks.
Get Informed About the Risks
Ophthalmologists recognize low risk, high risk, and very high risk categories of sports. A low-risk sport is one that involves no airborne objects, no objects that are swung such as racquets, and no bodily collisions. Some common examples are swimming, cycling, and track and field. High-risk sports do involve those risk factors. A few examples are baseball, hockey, football, and fencing. A very high-risk sport is one that involves risk factors of eye injuries and does not require participants to wear eye protection, such as boxing and martial arts. When you see an eye care professional, he or she can advise you as to the types of eye injuries that might occur with your chosen sport. Most sports-related injuries are caused by blunt force trauma. Penetrating injuries are less common in sports, but cannot be completely ruled out. There has been at least one instance of a fishing hook penetrating an eye .
Choose Protective Eyewear
Protective eyewear should always be worn for high-risk and very high-risk sports, even if the sports organization does not require it. It isn’t wise to rely solely on face masks as a means to prevent eye injuries, since sports equipment or a teammate’s fingers could slip through the mask. Protective eyewear should be specific to the sport you’ve chosen. For example, your eye doctor will recommend sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses for playing basketball and racquet sports.
Encourage Compliance in Children
Some children may resist wearing protective eyewear, especially if their teammates aren’t wearing it or if they feel self-conscious about their looks. To encourage compliance, parents can explain what might happen if a child fails to wear protective eyewear. Older children may be told that, if they wear regular eyeglasses, these can shatter and penetrate the eyeball. Parents can convince younger children to protect their eyes by having them shut their eyes and try to perform common tasks without the benefit of sight.
Once the cold, dry weather of winter arrives, many people are forced to make changes to keep their eyes comfortably lubricated. If you’re thinking about visiting your eye doctor in Chicago about dry eye treatment, then continue reading to learn what else you can do to prevent dry eye symptoms this season.
While outdoors, dry winter winds can take quite a toll on your eye lubrication, so consider wearing sunglasses during the day and glasses at night when you head outside. Additionally, wearing contact lenses for extended periods of time can lead to dry eye symptoms, so consider favoring your eyeglasses more during the winter and wearing your contact lenses for shorter durations.
Getting enough fluids is important for your overall health year-round but is particularly significant when you want to prevent your eyes from feeling dry and gritty. Also, if you want to avoid dry eye symptoms, then be sure to include plenty of vitamins A, C, and E in your diet this season, as well as foods containing omega-3 fatty acids. Finally, if the air in your home feels dry, run a humidifier as often as necessary to keep your indoor humidity levels within a comfortable range.
November marks the beginning of National Diabetes Month and Diabetic Eye Disease Month. These health awareness designations are intended to encourage individuals to become informed of their own health risks and the potential consequences of poorly controlled diabetes. In recognition of these designations, take the time to check the date of the last comprehensive eye exam you had at an optical center in Chicago . If it’s been more than one year, it’s time for another visit with your ophthalmologist.
Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to life-altering and life-threatening complications, including eye health problems. Diabetes occurs when the body can no longer make enough insulin or use insulin properly, which results in high blood sugar levels. Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause all sorts of damage to the body, including to the optic nerve and the tiny blood vessels in the eyes. Unfortunately, many people have diabetes or prediabetes without realizing it. In addition to making regular appointments with an ophthalmologist, consider talking to your family physician about blood glucose screenings.
Practicing good eye care habits is important, but so too is controlling blood glucose levels carefully. Uncontrolled diabetes greatly increases the risk of diabetic retinopathy, which causes the blood vessels in the eyes to swell, leak blood and other fluids, and close off entirely. Abnormal new blood vessels can also form; these do not work properly and they may be accompanied by scar tissue development. If you experience blurry vision or floaters, see your eye doctor promptly.
The lens of a healthy eye focuses light on the retina, which allows for clear vision. If the lens becomes cloudy, it cannot focus light properly and so vision becomes distorted. A cloudy area of the lens is called a cataract. Diabetes increases the risk of cataract development because high blood sugar levels can result in undesirable changes to the lens.
Glaucoma is a collection of eye diseases that are strongly associated with increased intraocular pressure, or pressure within the eye. These diseases develop as damage is inflicted on the optical nerve. The longer a person lives with diabetes, the higher the risk is of developing glaucoma.
Did you know that September has been designated as Healthy Aging Month? Its purpose is to remind people that it’s never too late in life to take control of their wellness. One commonly overlooked aspect of aging is its impact on your eyes. Visiting an ophthalmologist in Chicago regularly is important at every stage of life, but it’s particularly crucial as you grow older. Millions of Americans face blindness because of age-related vision changes. Scheduling a comprehensive exam every year with your eye doctor will help you manage your vision health. Not only can your ophthalmologist diagnose problems early on, but he or she can also provide some general eye care tips to help you protect your sight.
Kick the Habit
Your ophthalmologist might advise you to quit smoking. If you smoke, you should know that the habit directly increases your risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Tobacco use can also indirectly increase your risk of vision problems, such as by making you more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases that affect the health of your eyes. Quitting smoking is hard, but dealing with the health consequences of smoking is far worse. By quitting, you’ll improve the health of everyone around you as well as your own health. If you’re having trouble quitting or you need a little more convincing, your eye doctor may refer you to your primary care physician, who can connect you with appropriate resources in your community.
Pay Attention to Your Diet
When you were younger, you might have consumed sugary sodas and baked goods without a second thought, but the body of an older adult is less forgiving. You may have already realized that eating healthier is better for your energy levels, mood, and cardiac health, but it’s also good for your eyes. Certain foods are rich in the nutrients that your eyes need. These include cold water fish like salmon and tuna, dark green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, and citrus fruits like kiwi and oranges. Eggs are also good for eye health because they contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients may offer some protection against age-related macular degeneration.
Manage Your Medical Conditions
If you’re undergoing regular wellness exams at your doctor’s office, then you might already know if you have high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, or high glucose levels. If so, it’s important to work with your doctor to manage these problems because they can affect your eye health.
Dry eye syndrome is a condition frequently treated by eye doctors. If you are looking for an ophthalmologist to receive dry eye treatment near Chicago, you may have questions about this disorder. Watch this video to understand the nature of dry eye syndrome.
Your eyes have three layers of tears. The reason that most people develop dry eyes is the deterioration of the mucin cells, which make up the bottom tear layer. As you age, these cells can begin to fail, resulting in a reduction of your tear production and a feeling of dryness in your eyes. Eye doctors often recommend artificial tears to provide dry eye treatment for mild cases of this condition.
July is UV Safety Month, which serves to remind individuals of the importance of protecting themselves from the sun’s harmful rays. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a type of energy transmitted by the sun. Tanning lamps and tanning beds are also major sources of UV rays. There are three main types of UV rays, two of which can have serious health consequences for people. It’s common knowledge that excessive exposure to sunlight increases the risk of skin cancer, but it’s just as important to protect the eyes from these harmful rays. The next time you visit an optical center in Chicago for an eye exam or LASIK consultation, consider talking to your eye doctor about how you can protect your eyes from UV rays.
Identifying the Dangers of UV Rays
During UV Safety Month, take a few minutes to learn about the ways unprotected sunlight exposure can harm the eyes. UV rays can damage the eyes in several different ways. They increase the risk of cataract development, which are cloudy areas on the lenses. They can cause photokeratitis, which results in temporary vision loss. UV rays can even increase the risk of macular degeneration, pinguecula (yellow bumps on the eye), and pterygia (disfiguring bumps that cause blurry vision).
Protecting Yourself from UV Rays
It’s commonly thought that protection from UV rays isn’t as important on cloudy days or during the winter. In fact, a significant percentage of UV rays can still penetrate your eyes and skin on cloudy days. Likewise, cold temperatures do not mitigate the effects of UV rays on your eye health. For optimum eye care , your eye doctor is likely to recommend that you wear protective sunglasses every time you go outdoors. A wide-brimmed hat is also a good idea. Choose wraparound-style sunglasses that protect your eyes from all angles. Select a pair that is labeled to offer 100 percent UV protection or ask your eye doctor for recommendations.
Protecting Kids from UV Rays
Children are even more susceptible to eye damage from UV exposure compared to adults. Protect your child’s eyes by encouraging him or her to wear sunglasses that block UV rays. Let your child choose the style and color of sunglasses, provided they are labeled for 100 percent UV protection. Additionally, let your child choose a wide-brimmed hat to wear outdoors for even better protection.
Glaucoma is a chronic eye disease that can lead to blindness . It involves damage inflicted on the optic nerve. Although your eye doctor cannot cure glaucoma, he or she can help you learn how to manage it properly. Early detection is critical, so schedule regular eye exams at an optical center in Chicago. Your eye doctor can check for the early warning signs of glaucoma by performing a dilated eye exam, which checks for damage to the optic nerve. The ophthalmologist can also check the pressure in your eye and assess your visual field.
When you visit the optical center, be sure to tell your eye doctor about any changes in your vision. Glaucoma typically causes patients to lose “patches” of vision such as peripheral vision. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, it’s likely that your ophthalmologist will prescribe medicated eye drops to lower the pressure within your eye and prevent further damage. Some people with glaucoma may need laser surgery to manage intraocular pressure.
Dry eye is extremely uncomfortable, and when left untreated, can lead to chronic pain, eye ulcers, and corneal scarring. See your eye doctor for dry eye treatment in Chicago to prevent long-term complications and chronic discomfort.
Dry eye occurs when the eye either doesn’t produce an adequate amount of tears or produces tears that evaporate too quickly. This causes inflammation that can make it difficult to look at a computer screen, watch television, or read. With dry eye, patients experience stinging, burning, the feeling of sand in the eyes, redness, inability to cry, and decreased tolerance for dry environments. There are many different causes, ranging from medications to certain eye diseases.
There are a number of different ways your doctor can treat dry eye. Sometimes, switching medications can be the solution. Other patients benefit from eye drops and nutritional supplements. In rare cases, eye surgery to prevent premature tear evaporation could be helpful. Your eye doctor will devise a dry eye treatment plan based on the root cause of your symptoms.
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