What is dry eye?
Dry eye is, unfortunately, a very common problem. There can be a variety of causes including environmental and lifestyle. Our world revolves around technology and computer use and constant near-viewing can decrease our blink rate and exacerbate any underlying dry eye symptoms. Even certain medications and dehydration can cause dry eye.
Dry eye can be caused by having a lack of tears or having poor quality tears. We have 3 layers to our tear film. During an eye examination your optometrist can help to pinpoint the cause of the dryness. Untreated dryness can cause symptoms of redness, burning sensation, grittiness, fluctuation vision and in severe cases can cause corneal scarring and eye infections.
While artificial tears can help they do not always get to the source of issue so seeing your eye care provider and getting to the real issue will help decrease dry eye symptoms.
There are many tests that we can do for dry eye and they can dramatically improve your vision and, for contact lens wearers, help to improve long lasting comfort in contacts.
How long is an eye exam? Do I have to get my eyes dilated?
An eye exam can last from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on if you get your eyes dilated. I like to dilate every 1-2 years based on if you have any systemic health conditions. A dilation allows the doctor to look at the health of the back of eye, the retina. This includes a look at the eye’s arteries, veins, and optic nerve head.
Can glasses make my eyes worse/weaken my eyes?
I get this question quite often and my answer is always “the correct prescription will not weaken or make your vision worse.”
People start to notice this the most when they first get a reading prescription or when they are in the first stages of presbyopia (see above).
There are two main reasons people wrongly blame glasses for worsening near vision. First, the underlying condition of presbyopia worsens during the period when they start wearing reading glasses, so they associate the glasses with declining vision. This process will happen whether that person wears their reading glasses or not.
Secondly, they get used to seeing near objects clearly when wearing reading glasses, so when they take them off, their vision seems to have gotten worse. In reality, they are just noticing the clear vision with glasses versus the blurry vision without glasses.