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Can Dry Eye Cause Blindness? The Long-Term Effects of Dry Eye

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Older woman suffering from dry eye when using computer

Have you ever felt that annoying dry eye feeling? It’s a common affliction, and most of us have felt it to some degree. Although somewhat familiar and at first not that serious of a condition, it can lead to vision impairment when left untreated.

If you think you might be suffering from dry eye syndrome, don’t hesitate to pay us a visit. As with most eye conditions, the earlier dry eye is diagnosed and treated, the likelier you are to preserve your vision. With our state-of-the-art dry eye treatment facilities, we’re ready to help your eyes get some hard-earned relief. Book an appointment today, and get rid of that dry eye feeling.

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye, also called dry eye syndrome, is a very common eye condition that affects 16 million Americans. Dry eye occurs when your eyes aren’t producing enough tears to keep themselves properly wet. Or when the tears your eyes produce are of low quality. This imbalance can cause irritation, redness, and blurry vision.

Dry eyes may seem harmless, merely an annoyance. This isn’t the case though, as untreated dry eye can lead to serious health problems, like infection and even corneal scarring. So if your dry eye symptoms persist, contact us before dry eye takes a toll on your eyes. 

How Improper Tear Balance Causes Dry Eye

Since your tears are part of  what keeps your eyes healthy and nourished, an imbalance in tear composition or production can cause problems. To understand how this imbalance can lead to dry eye, it’s necessary to understand the composition of our tears.

The Lipid Layer

This is the outermost layer of your tears and is responsible for preventing your tears from evaporating. It’s composed of oils produced in the meibomian glands, and dysfunctions in this gland can cause evaporative dry eye disease.

The Aqueous Layer

This layer, the middle part of your tears, is mostly composed of water and is what keeps your eyes hydrated. It’s produced by the lacrimal glands, and not enough production by these glands is one of the most common causes of dry eye syndrome.

The Mucus Layer

This layer is composed of mucus responsible for keeping your tears adhered to your eyes and is the innermost part of your tears. It’s what makes our tears stick to the eye’s surface.

Woman taking off glasses and touching eye as she suffers from dry eye

Dry Eye Risk Factors & Symptoms

While dry eye disease can have many causes, some people are more likely to develop it than others. You are at a higher risk of developing dry eye disease if you:

  • Are least 50 years of age
  • Wear contact lenses
  • Spend too much time looking at digital screens without taking breaks
  • Take certain medications, like antihistamines, blood pressure regulators, and antidepressants 
  • Have diabetes 

Dry Eye Symptoms

The most common dry eye disease symptoms are:

  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Burning sensation

The Dangers of Untreated Dry Eye

While dry eye disease may not seem like an urgent issue, it can severely damage your eyes and negatively impact quality of life when left to its own devices. Untreated dry eye disease can cause conjunctivitis, reading difficulties, an inability to wear contact lenses, driving difficulties, and lesions on your eyes called corneal ulcers

These corneal lesions are serious and can lead to corneal scarring. This scarring affects the cornea’s ability to accurately focus light, clouding your vision. If this corneal injury happens as a result of underlying dry eye disease and it’s left untreated, it can lead to blindness in some cases.

Don’t Leave Your Eyes Out to Dry

Dry eyes are common and mostly known for being annoying. But dry eye can severely hamper your quality of life and have lasting consequences. To help you deal with this problematic eye condition, we offer a variety of treatments. From eye drops and oral supplements to state-of-the-art procedures like LipiFlow, we can help. 

Don’t let this simple but concerning condition take any of your precious eyesight away. We at EyeZone Nevada are proud to offer some much-needed relief to our dry eye patients. Book an appointment today and find out how we can help end your dry eye related problems.

Written by Daniel Rowan

Reno optometrist, Dr. Daniel Rowan, was raised in Western Canada and attended Norwich University in Vermont on a hockey scholarship. After obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in both biology and sports medicine, he received his Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree from the New York College of Optometry in 2001. He performed rotations in a Queens VA hospital, specializing in glaucoma care, and an outpatient eye clinic in the Bronx. Immediately after graduating, he moved to Nevada and is now considered a top Reno optometrist. He is a member of the American Optometric Association and is board-certified by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry for the treatment and management of ocular diseases.
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