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Dry Eye

What’s The Connection Between Dry Eye And Asthma?

What’s The Connection Between Dry Eye And Asthma 640×350Researchers have already established several known risk factors for developing dry eye syndrome: the quality of your tears, excessive screen time, air pollution, hormonal fluctuations, aging, certain medications and medical conditions, and even being female.

Here’s another risk factor that’s recently been added to the list: having asthma.

Asthma is a disease of the lungs that affects about 300 million people around the globe. Symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and breathlessness.

Fortunately, asthmatic patients are usually able to do the activities they enjoy by taking prescription medications that facilitate easier breathing.

But medical professionals have noticed that the individuals taking these medicines, and sometimes even asthmatic patients who don’t, have a higher incidence of dry eye syndrome.

Let your optometrist know if you have asthma or any other risk factors for dry eye syndrome. At Vintage Optical, we can identify the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms and relieve your discomfort.

What is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes consistently lack proper lubrication, either due to insufficient tears or tears that lack essential oils.

You know what it’s like to have dry eye if you’ve ever experienced any of of the following symptoms:

  • Burning, gritty or itchy eyes
  • Eye dryness
  • Red or painful eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Stringy mucus around the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Difficulty or inability to wear contact lenses
  • Feeling that something is stuck in your eye

What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?

Most cases of dry eye syndrome result from the dysfunction of the meibomian glands in the eyelids, which produce the vital oils needed for healthy tears, and which reduce tear evaporation. But dry eyes can also be caused by some autoimmune diseases, hormone replacement therapy, certain medications and, it appears, asthma or the medications that treat it.

Environmental factors that can bring on dry eye syndrome include exposure to wind or airborne irritants, pollution, infrequent or incomplete blinking (people blink less when they use digital devices), heating, air conditioning and dry weather. Certain makeup products, including mascara, and application methods such as applying makeup on the eyelid margin, can block the glands that lubricate the eyes.

Can Dry Eye Syndrome Be Cured?

There are now a wide range of treatment options that can successfully manage your dry eyes. The key is to allow us to find and target the underlying cause of your condition, so we can create a plan to minimize and sometimes eliminate your dry eye symptoms.

What’s the Link Between Asthma and Dry Eye Syndrome?

Several studies have examined the relationship between asthma and dry eye syndrome and found that although a link exists, researchers aren’t sure exactly why.

One study, published in BMJ Open (2019), found that asthmatic people of Australian, Caucasian and Asian descent have higher rates of dry eye syndrome than those without asthma.

Another study, published in Medicine (2020), established a significant link between asthma and dry eye syndrome, and found that children with asthma tend to have an unstable tear film — a common cause of dry eyes.

One hypothesis is that asthma medications like inhaled corticosteroids, oral antihistamines and leukotriene receptor antagonists may contribute to eye dryness by inhibiting tear production, but further research is needed.

Could asthma itself be the culprit? Possibly, but more research is needed for a better understanding. What is known: low blood oxygen levels caused by severe asthma can deprive the front section of the eye, called the cornea, of oxygen, potentially leading to dry eye syndrome.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Research shows that having asthma may increase your risk of experiencing dry eye symptoms.

If you have asthma, speak with your optometrist about lowering your risk of developing dry eye syndrome and make sure to bring all of your asthma medications to your next eye exam.

If you already have some symptoms of dry eye syndrome, call Vintage Optical in Morton to schedule a dry eye consultation. We’ll create a personalized treatment plan so you can enjoy long-term relief.

Our practice serves patients from Morton, Mayfair, Tremont, and Mackinaw, Illinois and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Paul Velting

Q: What at-home remedies can relieve dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Make sure to stay hydrated and wear sunglasses whenever outdoors. If you use an indoor heater or air conditioner, direct the airflow away from your face. Use a humidifier at home and at work. You can also try using a warm eye compress. Ask your eye doctor for instructions on how to do so. But keep in mind that trying to manage dry eye syndrome without seeing a dry eye optometrist won’t be as effective.

Q: How is dry eye syndrome treated?

  • A: The type of treatment depends on what’s causing the symptoms. For example, if premature tear evaporation is the problem, your optometrist may prescribe eye drops. Or if your meibomian glands aren’t functioning as they should, unclogging the glands may do the trick. Medicated eye ointment or drops may be prescribed, or we may recommend certain in-office dry eye treatments. Each treatment plan is carefully formulated with your eyes and lifestyle in mind.

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 309-741-2512

The Link Between Dry Eyes and Depression

The Link Between Dry Eyes and DepressionDepression is a serious illness that impacts a person’s mood and emotional well-being. It creeps into all areas of a person’s life, and can become life-threatening if left untreated.

Not only does depression impact mental health; it can manifest as physical symptoms, too, like insomnia, chronic pain and inflammation, weight loss or gain and heart problems, among others. These physical problems can worsen depressive thoughts — sometimes leading to a vicious cycle.

Interestingly, many patients with depression also suffer from severe dry eye symptoms. The question is, how are these two conditions related?

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome, also known as dry eye disease, is a chronic condition that results from inadequate lubrication of the eyes. Ocular hydration is crucial when it comes to keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear. Your tears are responsible for maintaining this necessary hydration, and in healthy eyes fulfill their unique mission each time you blink.

Your tear film is made up of three layers, consisting of oil, water and mucus. If any of these layers become compromised, inadequate tear quality or insufficient tear quantity can result and lead to a host of uncomfortable dry eye symptoms.

The most common dry eye symptoms include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Gritty eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurry vision

Can Depression Cause Dry Eye (or Vice-Versa)?

This is what researchers are trying to find out.

In a March 2022 study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, researchers examined the link between depression and severe dry eye symptoms. The study followed 535 dry eye patients for an entire year.

After a year, the patients who tested positive for depression had more severe dry eye symptoms than the patients who didn’t have depression. Their symptoms were measured based on the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI), Brief Ocular Discomfort Index and composite dry eye disease sign score.

Additionally, severe depression was associated with more severe dry eye symptoms at baseline, six months, and one year.

The study concluded that depression was associated with more severe dry eye symptoms, which suggests that among patients with moderate to severe dry eye syndrome, those with depression may be likely to have more severe dry eye symptoms.

The researchers said further research is needed to learn exactly why people with depression have more severe dry eye symptoms than those without depression.

Could the sometimes debilitating symptoms of dry eye syndrome actually cause depression and anxiety?

A 2016 dry eye study published in Nature concluded that chronic discomfort and pain from dry eye symptoms can negatively affect the cognitive processes, sleep, mood and mental health. The researchers urged eye doctors to be aware of the higher incidence of dry eye syndrome in people with depression, whatever the underlying cause.

Can Antidepressants Cause Dry Eye Symptoms?

Yes. Antidepressants have been shown to increase dryness in the body, including the eyes. These medications work by blocking signals between nerve cells, which can result in insufficient tear production and dry eye syndrome.

If you’re taking an antidepressant, be sure to inform your eye doctor during your consultation.

How We Can Help

At Vintage Optical in Morton, we recognize that some of our patients that come in with dry eye symptoms may be suffering from depression.

We’ll diagnose the cause of your dry eye symptoms and offer the most effective dry eye treatments to give you the relief you’re searching for.

Contact us today to schedule a dry eye assessment and take the first step towards regaining your quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Paul Velting

Q: Who is affected by dry eye syndrome?

  • A: While dry eye syndrome is most common in adults over 50, it can occur at any age. The following factors can increase your risk of dry eye:
    – Aging
    – Hormonal changes
    – Medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis
    – Prolonged screen time
    – Living in a dry, dusty or windy environment
    – Eye allergies
    – Blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction
    – Certain medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, hormone replacement therapy
    – Vitamin A deficiency

Q: How can you reduce your risk of dry eye?

  • A: While some dry eye risk factors can’t be avoided completely, making some lifestyle changes can help. Practice these recommended tips:
    – Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air
    – Wear wraparound sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes from harsh winds
    – Take frequent screen breaks and blink often while using your digital device.
    – Quit smoking
    – Use lubricating eye drops
    – Consume a healthy diet including omega 3 and drink plenty of water.
    – Have regular eye exams

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 309-741-2512

5 Ways to Prevent Dry Eyes During Air Travel

airplane- Dry Eye Air Travel TipsWhile traveling can be taxing on the entire body, the eyes are especially vulnerable — particularly when wearing a mask to protect from COVID. When traveling by plane, the dry air can cause your eyes to become red, parched and irritated. While you can’t control all variables during your travels, eye specialists have discovered a number of ways to reduce the chances of experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of “travelers’ dry eye.”

Prevent Dry Eye From Affecting Your Vision

Drink plenty of water. If your body isn’t properly hydrated, it will have a tougher time increasing tear production in a dry atmosphere. Humidity levels on planes are typically below 20%, which is lower than the Sahara Desert! Keep your eyes moist and comfortable by drinking plenty of water before, during and after your flight.

Wear your glasses. Since contact lenses remove moisture from your eye’s surface tear film, they can contribute to dry eye. Wearing your glasses can help keep your eyes moist.

Wear a sleep mask. Even when your eyelids are closed, your eyes might lose moisture, which happens frequently when you sleep. On a plane, a sleep mask can help prevent additional dryness.

Use hydrating eye drops. When you’re in a dry environment, a good hydrating eye drop can provide a brief respite.

Make sure your face mask fits snugly. When a person’s breath rises upward it can dry out their eyes. A face mask that fits securely around the bridge of the nose can prevent air from reaching the eyes.

Is dry eye making you miserable, especially when traveling? Put an end to the discomfort and struggle by contacting Vintage Optical. Our dedicated eye doctors will get to the bottom of your dry eye and provide effective, lasting treatment.

Our practice serves patients from Morton, Mayfair, Tremont, and Mackinaw, Illinois and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Paul Velting

Q: Can dry eye be cured?

  • A: In some cases, yes. A range of successful treatment options can help manage dry eye for long-term relief. Your eye doctor can also provide in-office treatments for more advanced forms of dry eye disease.

Q: What type of treatments are available for dry eye?

  • A: Depending on the cause of the dry eye, treatment options include:
    – Lubricants
    – Punctal plugs
    – Topical steroids
    – Warm compresses
    – Protective eyewear
    – Intense pulse light
    – Switching to medications that don’t cause dry eye symptoms

Looking for dry eye treatment? Contact Vintage Optical today!

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 309-741-2512

5 Common Dry Eye Symptoms and How to Treat Them

5 Common Dry Eye Symptoms 640×350Are your eyes dry, itchy, and red? Is it difficult to wear contact lenses? Dry eye symptoms can be hard to live with, but fortunately, there are many treatment options.

Most cases of dry eye syndrome are caused by a blockage of the tiny eyelid glands that produce the tears’ essential oil. The oil keeps the liquid in the tears from evaporating too quickly and helps keep the front of your eyes feeling lubricated. Without this oil, your eyes will feel dry and itchy and may become red and more prone to infection.

The following are some common problems related to dry eye, and how they’re treated. syndrome.

Eyelid Inflammation

Eyelid inflammation, known as blepharitis, may contribute to dry eye syndrome because an inflammation and swelling of the edges of the eyelids can prevent the glands from releasing oil. Your eye doctor may prescribe antibiotics or steroids eye drops to treat inflamed eyelids.

Eye Redness

If your eyes are reddish or bloodshot, you should have an eye exam right away to rule out bacterial or viral conjunctivitis (pink eye). If your eye redness is a symptom of dry eye, your eye doctor will recommend the most effective treatment based on what’s causing your dry eyes. While over-the-counter artificial tears can sometimes lessen the redness by constricting blood vessels in your eye, their effect is usually temporary and doesn’t treat the underlying cause of your eye redness.

Corneal Damage

The moisture in your eyes helps prevent infections by washing away bacteria and other pathogens. Left untreated, dry eyes can lead to long-term corneal damage, known as ocular surface disease. Your eye doctor may prescribe corticosteroids, which are effective at treating inflammation short-term, but can increase pressure inside the eye if used for too long.

Discomfort Wearing Contact Lenses

If your eyes feel dry and irritated, wearing contact lenses can be uncomfortable, even impossible. Your eye doctor will discuss effective treatment options to give you the best chance of enjoying the many benefits of contact lenses.

Using over-the-counter eye drops may moisten your eyes in the short-term, but might not give you the total eye comfort you need to wear contact lenses. Your eye doctor can prescribe

eye drops or offer effective in-office dry eye treatments to treat the underlying cause of your symptoms.

There is also a range of special contact lenses that keep the eyes more hydrated than standard contacts.

Eye Dryness – Too Few Tears

If you have dry eye syndrome, you may not be producing enough tears. While eye drops or artificial tears may provide temporary relief, speak to your [eye-doctor] about cellulose eye inserts that can be placed in your lower eyelid and dissolve to supply your eyes with more tears. The insert is designed to slowly dissolve, at which time a new one can be inserted. Using inserts can be more convenient than having to apply eye drops multiple times a day.

Your eye doctor may also prescribe tear-producing medications like cholinergics, which are available in pills, gels or eye drops.

You don’t have to put up with dry eye symptoms! Dr. Paul Velting at Vintage Optical in Morton will determine the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms and prescribe the treatment that’s right for you. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

Our practice serves patients from Morton, Mayfair, Tremont, and Mackinaw, Illinois and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Paul Velting

Q: What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?

  • A: – Aging, particularly if there are also hormonal changes, such as menopause
    – Medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome, eye allergies and rheumatoid arthritis
    – Medications such as decongestants, antihistamine, antidepressants, hormone replacement therapy
    – Inflamed eyelids, such as blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction
    – Not blinking enough, which occurs with extended digital screen use and close activities like reading
    – Exposure to dry or polluted air and heat
    – Vitamin A deficiency

Q: How Can You Minimize Dry Eye Symptoms?

  • A: – Use a humidifier in your home to add moisture to the air.
    – When outside, wear wraparound or another type of quality sunglasses to remove the effects of harsh winds and screen out UV rays.
    – Take breaks while using your digital device.
    – Take time to blink repeatedly to spread moisture over your eyes.
    – Stop smoking.
    – Use eye drops as recommended by your eye doctor.
    – Consume a healthy diet including omega 3 oils and drink plenty of water.
    – See your eye doctor regularly.


References

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 309-741-2512