Best Eye Doctors in New Hanover PA
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Do your eyes burn and feel gritty? Do you have blurred vision or eye pain? All of these can be symptoms of dry eye disease (DED). At Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania, one in four of our patients report dry eye symptoms. If these symptoms sound familiar, and if you live or work in New Hanover, PA, the best eye doctors are in our Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania Pottstown office.
What is Dry Eye?
Many factors contribute to dry eye, which is why DED is referred to as a multifactorial disease. It is most often characterized by decreased tear production or tear evaporation that is too rapid. Dry eye is a global health problem. Worldwide, DED is the leading reason patients visit an eye clinic.
Blinking causes a thin film of tears to spread over the eye’s surface. This film has three layers: an oil layer, a water layer and a mucus layer. Each layer serves a specific role. The oily layer is the outermost layer and keeps the tear film from drying up too quickly. The oils in this layer are made in the meibomian glands. The watery layer is the middle layer and makes up the volume of tears, which cleanse the eyes and wash away particles. The lacrimal glands located in the eyelids make the watery layer. The innermost layer is the mucus layer; it serves to help spread the water layer over the entire surface of the eye to keep it moist.
Dry eye disease occurs when the composition of one or more of these tear film layers gets out of balance, meaning the lipids in the tears are reduced or the water content of the tear film is reduced. When the tear film is out of balance, your eyes experience discomfort and irritation.
Who Is At Risk?
Men and women both have dry eye, and hormonal changes do contribute to the condition as people get older. Women who are past menopause do more commonly have dry eye. Certain autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis increase your chances of having dry eye. Environmental conditions like dry climates and smoky environments also contribute. Many of our patients look at computer screens for most of the day, and that certainly contributes, as does wearing contact lenses or having LASIK surgery. Certain medications like high blood pressure medications, antihistamines and certain antidepressants can also contribute to dry eye.
There are several ways to treat dry eye. The choice of treatment will depend on how severe your case is and what symptoms you are reporting. Artificial tear eye drops are the most prescribed treatment. These drops are designed to mimic your natural tears and supplement or replace the natural tear film. The ingredients in these products are designed to protect the eye’s surface by lubricating areas of the eye. The drops also provide healing to any areas of the corneas that have already been damaged by the dryness.
Sometimes, these drops are not effective in all patients. If this happens in your case, our expert physicians will look at the underlying contributors of the disease to determine more effective therapies. Many times, meibomian gland dysfunction can contribute to dry eye, or a systemic disease might be causing the condition.
Come See Us
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? If so, you may have DED, so schedule an appointment with us today. Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania can fulfill all of your eye care needs. Even better, if you live or work in New Hanover PA, the best eye doctors are just a short drive away in Lebanon, so schedule an appointment with us today.
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