Dr. Gong discusses the symptoms, treatments and causes of dry eye.
It’s quite common for a patient to come in complaining about dry eyes. Dry eye is a condition where you are not producing enough tears.
It’s very important to have enough tears because you need to nurse the eye. It provides clarity because you have to have a good optical surface to be able to bend light clearly.
People are very uncomfortable when they have dry eyes. Many of the symptoms that we hear of dry eyes is that, I feel like a gritty, sandy, foreign body sensation in my eyes.
I am not seeing as clearly. I have watery eyes, which sounds very contradictive of dry eyes because my eyes are watering but that is one of the main complaints that we get. The eyes are uncomfortable; they burn, especially if I am on the computer.
The cause of dry eyes is multifactoral. I know here in Phoenix where we live because we have a lot of ceiling fans and air-conditioners and even in winter time we have heaters it dries out the eyes.
They have proven that computer users tend to blink half the frequency they are supposed to so many of people who are on jobs that use a computer quite often will complain of dry eyes.
It could be genetic. It could be not blinking all the way, the top lid doesn’t hit the bottom lid.
It could be also age related. The older we get the drier our eyes get. And unfortunately women, we get drier eyes than men.
It could be also from medications, being outdoors a lot, just not getting that lubrication.
Sometimes even the meibomian glands, which are the glands that are right with the lashes, come out the lid. If they are clogged up they don’t produce the outer layer of the tears to keep the eyes moisturized.
In fact, even menopause would cause dry eyes because of the changes in hormones.
There are many treatments and medications for dry eyes. Your eye doctor can prescribe an antibiotic that can clear out the glands to help produce better tears.
There are also medications out there that can help produce better quality tears. We also have over-the-counter drops that you can use to lubricate throughout the day.
One thing we do want to recommend is that you don’t overuse drops that take the red out of your eyes because that sometimes makes your eyes even more red and that’s one of the things that we get asked quite often is, can I use it on a regular basis?
But there are some drops that are better than others, you can discuss that with your eye doctor.
We also recommend for our patients that when they are outside that they wear sunglasses, ones with the wraps so that avoids the exposure from the wind and the sun and the dust, also increasing the humidity in your house or even in your office.
If you are a computer user we do recommend that you try to remember to do some nice slow blinks.
We recommend looking away from the computer screen about every 20 minutes to take a break, that sometimes helps with dry eyes.
We also have warm compresses that we ask our patients to use it morning and night to open up the pores where the lashes come out of the lid. That helps produce tears.
We even have now goggles that increases humidity so that the warmth is very not only relaxing but it will help you with your dry eyes.
And also there’s essential fatty acids that you can take also, supplements that help with dry eyes.
About Dr. Aleta Gong, O.D., F.A.A.O., F.C.O.V.D.:
Dr. Aleta Gong, O.D., F.A.A.O., F.C.O.V.D., is a graduate of the University of California San Diego and the Southern California College of Optometry. She is a Board Certified Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. She has had extensive training at several hospitals and has been trained in specialty contacts, ocular disease, and vision therapy.
She is an active member of the American Optometric Association, and is past president of the Arizona Optometric Association. She also has been one of two state directors for the Special Olympics Opening Eyes Program since 2001.
Presently, she is the state liaison for the nurse’s vision screening program for Arizona. She was a state board proctor for the Arizona licensing board from 1993 to 2001. Dr. Gong has been chosen to be a C.O.P.E. reviewer for national lectures. Dr. Gong also started the InfantSEE® program for Arizona.