If your eyes are always dry and itchy, you may have a condition called chronic dry eye. Dr. Donna Cooper has considerable experience in diagnosing and treating dry eye syndrome. She provides effective, nonsurgical treatment options to relieve persistent dryness and irritation associated with dry eyes at Cooper Optometry in Santa Monica, California. To learn more about treating dry eye, schedule an appointment online or by phone.
Dry eye is a condition where your body doesn’t make enough tears to nourish and lubricate your eye properly or produces tears of poor quality that evaporate too quickly or fail to spread out over the entire eye.
As a result, you feel a near-constant sensation that something is in your eye. The condition is often chronic and can cause vision problems and damage to the eye if untreated.
You may be at increased risk of developing dry eye as you age. The condition frequently affects women and men over the age of 65, due to the natural changes associated with aging. Women are especially prone to developing the condition due to hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and menopause.
Other risk factors for dry eye include:
Dry eye can also be a result of blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids.
The doctor administers a simple test to determine the quality and quantity of your tears. She also performs a comprehensive eye exam to assess your overall eye health.
If you always feel like something is in your eye or your eyes perpetually feel dry and itchy, schedule an appointment for a thorough evaluation.
Dr. Cooper and Dr. Chung initially use the least-invasive treatment methods to alleviate dry eye pain and irritation. She may recommend lifestyle changes to avoid environmental irritants, including exposure to pollen and smoke.
Artificial tears or prescription eye drops can also relieve inflammation and discomfort. The doctor may recommend using at-home heat therapy treatments and taking omega 3 supplements.
If these treatments don't relieve dry eye symptoms, the doctor may clean your eyelids to remove contaminants and bacteria that can cause dry eye. Punctal plugs are also an effective treatment for dry eye that she may recommend if other therapies aren’t working.
Punctal plugs are tiny devices that your doctor inserts into the punctal, or tear duct opening, in the corner of your eye. Plugs act as a blocker to prevent tears from draining out, so your eyes stay well lubricated.
Temporary plugs are made from either collagen or silicone. Collagen plugs dissolve within a few months. Silicone plugs are designed to last for years.
To schedule a dry eye consultation, book online or by calling the office.