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7 Common Questions About Dry Eye Syndrome, Answered

7 Common Questions About Dry Eye Syndrome, Answered 640×350Millions of people around the world live with a chronic eye condition called dry eye syndrome (DES). Although DES is quite common, many people don’t know much about it — and that’s where we come in.

Here are answers to 7 of the most commonly asked questions about dry eye syndrome.

1. What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

DES occurs when your eyes chronically lack hydration. The tears in your eyes are responsible for keeping them feeling fresh and your vision clear. When your tear production is disrupted, or the quality of your tears is insufficient, your eyes may feel dry and irritated. DES is most frequently a result of poor functioning of the glands in the eyelids, which produce essential oils for the tears.

2. What are the Symptoms and Causes of DES?

The main symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:

  • Red, painful eyes
  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Foreign body sensation
  • [Mucus] around the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Itchy eyes

Dry eye syndrome can be caused by several factors, including genetics and environment. Specific causes include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Aging
  • Certain medications
  • Eye allergies
  • Dysfunction of the glands in the eyelids
  • Hormonal fluctuations and hormone replacement therapy
  • Refractive surgery
  • Extended screen usage
  • Exposure to windy or dry climates
  • Infrequent or incomplete blinking
  • Polluted air

3. What are Risk Factors for Developing DES?

You are more likely to develop dry eye syndrome if you:

  • Are female
  • Are pregnant
  • Are above the age of 50
  • Have allergies
  • Have thyroid dysfunction
  • Are very deficient in Vitamin A
  • Have an autoimmune disorder, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Spend several hours per day in front of a digital screen
  • Smoke
  • Live in a place with poor air quality, such as large cities

4. Can DES Go Away On Its Own?

It really depends. If your dry eyes are caused by an external irritant or allergen, your symptoms will likely improve once the irritant is removed. Some people may only experience symptoms of dry eye syndrome in a dry climate, during allergy season, or after prolonged screen use (when people blink their eyes much less frequently), for example.

5. Is DES Permanent?

Although there are ways to manage and treat DES, it is considered a chronic condition. In many cases, symptoms may reappear if treatment stops. In other cases of DES, symptoms can be temporary, depending on the cause.

6. Is DES Harmful to Eye Health?

It can be. Severe dry eye syndrome can lead to corneal ulcers and scarring. In very rare cases, dry eye syndrome may produce partial blindness if left untreated.

7. How is DES treated?

There are several safe and effective treatments for dry eye syndrome. Treatment options will vary from patient to patient, depending on what’s causing your DES. Your optometrist will select the treatment that targets the underlying cause of your condition.

You may be prescribed medicated eye drops, lubricating eye drops, omega-3 supplements or in-office treatments to clean and/or improve the functioning of the glands in your eyelids. Speak with your optometrist about which treatment option is most suitable for you.

If you or a loved one is living with symptoms of dry eye syndrome, we can help. Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Dry Eye Center provides the latest, most effective treatments for dry eye syndrome for long-lasting relief.

To schedule your dry eye consultation, call Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Dry Eye Center in Richmond Hill today!

Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Dry Eye Center serves patients from Richmond Hill, Markham, North York, Vaughn and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Radhika Chawla

Q: What are some lifestyle choices that can help ease symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Some patients find that staying hydrated and eating more omega-3 rich foods help with DES. You may also benefit from wearing sunglasses when outdoors and using a humidifier when indoors to replenish the moisture in the air.

Q: Should I use over-the-counter eye drops for my dry eyes?

  • A: There are so many eye drops at the pharmacy, so it can be hard to choose the right product for your eyes. If your eyes are feeling dry, head over to your local optometrist before resorting to an over-the-counter option.

Request A Dry Eye Appointment Today
You Have Dry Eye? Call 833-700-2133

What Causes Bulging Eyes?

What Causes Bulging Eyes 640×350When you look at a pair of healthy eyes, you shouldn’t be able to see the whites of the eye above or below the iris. If some white is always visible between the iris and eyelid, the eyes are considered to be protruding out of their normal position.

The medical term for this condition is exophthalmos, or proptosis, and is thought to affect about 1 in 4,000 individuals worldwide.

Bulging eyes aren’t a standalone condition, but rather a symptom of another health problem. Several medical conditions can cause one’s eye or eyes to bulge, and the treatment plan depends on the underlying condition.

It’s important to note that a sudden bulging of one eye is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.

Common Causes of Bulging Eyes

The most common cause of exophthalmos is thyroid disorders, especially Grave’s disease (hyperthyroidism). Thyroid eye disease is a condition that causes the muscles, eyelids and tear glands to swell, resulting in a bulging appearance.

Symptoms of thyroid eye disease can include:

  • Painful eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Irritated eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Difficulty with eye movements
  • Pressure around or behind the eyes

Thyroid-related exophthalmos usually takes up to several months or years to manifest.

Other reasons for bulging eyes include:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Hemangioma
  • Bleeding behind the eyeball due to injury
  • Infection of the eye’s tissues
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Connective tissue disease
  • [Tumors]

What Should You Do If You Notice Your Eyes Protruding?

Sudden bulging should be addressed by a medical professional without delay.

Otherwise, schedule an appointment with your physician as well as your optometrist. Be prepared to answer questions about your symptoms, general health and family history to receive an accurate assessment and diagnosis.

How We Can Help

Left untreated, exophthalmos can lead to corneal dryness, inflammation of the eye tissue and dry eye syndrome. The eyes may not be able to close completely during a blink, making them prone to insufficient lubrication and hydration.

We can treat your dry eyes and relieve some of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with bulging eyes. Treatment will be tailor-made to meet the needs of your eyes and overall health status.

To schedule a consultation, call Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Dry Eye Center in Richmond Hill today!

Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Dry Eye Center serves patients from Richmond Hill, Markham, North York, and Vaughn, Ontario and surrounding communities.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Radhika Chawla

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a condition characterized by chronic eye dryness that can be caused by genetic, environmental and other factors. Very often, it is caused by malfunctioning glands that secrete nourishing oils into the tear film. Symptoms of DES can include redness, irritation, watery eyes, blurred vision, light sensitivity, stringy eye mucus and eye pain. In many cases, DES is simple to treat.

Q: Can dry eye syndrome harm eye health?

  • A: Left untreated, dry eye syndrome can cause corneal ulcers, which may lead to permanent vision loss. If your eyes are giving you any trouble, speak to a dry eye optometrist, who can diagnose the problem and help you achieve the relief you seek.

Request A Dry Eye Appointment Today
You Have Dry Eye? Call 833-700-2133

Dry Eye Air Travel Tips

Dry Eye Air Travel Tips 640×350Traveling can be taxing on the entire body, but the eyes are especially vulnerable – particularly while wearing a mask against COVID-19. 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.’

Here are five suggestions for preventing 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.

If dry eye is making you miserable, especially when traveling, there is no reason to suffer. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam with Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Dry Eye Center and find out what could be causing your dry eye symptoms and how to treat them.

Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Dry Eye Center serves patients from Richmond Hill, Markham, North York, and Vaughn, Ontario and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Radhika Chawla

Q: Can dry eye be cured?

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

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

  • A: Depending on the cause of the dry eye, treatment options include:- In-office treatments
    – Lubricants
    – Punctal plugs
    – Topical steroids
    – Warm compresses
    – Protective eyewear
    – Intense pulse light
    – Switching to medications that don’t cause dry eye symptoms
Request A Dry Eye Appointment Today
You Have Dry Eye? Call 833-700-2133

How To Use Eye Makeup Safely Without Dry Eye Irritation

How To Use Eye Makeup Safely Without Dry Eye Irritation 640×350Some of our patients say they’ve been wearing more eye makeup since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, to draw more attention to their eyes — the only area of their face visible above their face mask.

While this practice may accentuate your eyes beautifully, it can also lead to uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye syndrome like red, itchy, watery or burning eyes.

Here are a few of our top tips for safely applying makeup that won’t aggravate your sensitive eye area.

1. Use only eye-safe products.

If a product isn’t meant to be applied to your eyes, keep it far away from the delicate tissues that make up your eye area. Don’t assume that all black makeup pencils are eyeliners, or that tinted brow gels are basically eyelash mascara. Read packaging labels carefully and only use products that have been determined to be eye-safe by the FDA or manufacturers. Also, to avoid cross contamination, keep a set of brushes and applicators that you only use for eye makeup and no other areas of your face.

2. Sharing is caring… except when it comes to eye makeup.

No, not even with your sister or “bff.” Certain bacteria have been associated with the development of dry eye syndrome, and sharing eye makeup is an excellent way to introduce harmful microbes like bacteria and fungus to your eyes (or others’ eyes). This includes brushes and eyelash curlers as well.

3. Hygiene is the top priority.

As mentioned above, bacteria is a no-no for keeping your eyes healthy and happy. Unfortunately, some eye makeup products are the perfect breeding ground for some types of bacteria. That’s why keeping your eye makeup products clean is key. You can do this by sanitizing your brushes after each use or sharpening your eyeliner before you use it. Also, wash your hands and face before applying any makeup.

4. Keep the makeup on the outside of your eyes.

Even eye-safe makeup can clog the tiny glands (called meibomian glands) that line the inner rims of your upper and lower eyelids. Meibomian glands secrete nourishing oils that keep your eyes feeling comfortable and healthy. Applying makeup too close to the eye’s surface also significantly increases the risk of makeup particles ending up in your tear film and causing your tears to evaporate too quickly.

5. Replace your makeup regularly.

If you’ve had the same tube of mascara or eyeshadow for more than 3 months, it may be time for a replacement. You should always replace your eye makeup and applicators following an eye infection or if they start changing color or texture.

6. Remove your eye makeup thoroughly.

Clean eyes are happy eyes. Although it’s tempting to just roll into bed after a long day or night, try to make it a habit to remove every bit of makeup before going to bed. Going to sleep with eye makeup significantly increases your chance of developing blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids. Use an oil-free makeup remover or an eyelid wipe to wash the day away.

Eyes Giving You Trouble? We Can Help

Whether it’s an occasional irritation or a chronic problem, dry eye syndrome is no fun. The good news is that the condition is often easily treatable, so you can find relief without giving up your favorite eye makeup looks.

If your eyes have been feeling irritated, dry or uncomfortable, we can help. To schedule your dry eye consultation, contact Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Dry Eye Center in Richmond Hill today!

Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Dry Eye Center serves patients from Richmond Hill, Markham, North York, Vaughn, and throughout Ontario.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Radhika Chawla

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic lack of ocular hydration that can be caused by both genetic and environmental factors. When your tear quality or quantity is compromised, you may experience symptoms like eye redness, dryness, burning, stinging, stringy eye mucus, light sensitivity or watery eyes.

Q: Can dry eye syndrome be cured?

  • A: Although there isn’t yet a permanent cure for the condition, there are several ways to manage and treat dry eyes for long-lasting relief. Your dry eye optometrist will thoroughly examine your eyes to determine what’s causing your symptoms and prescribe the appropriate treatment plan.

Request A Dry Eye Appointment Today
You Have Dry Eye? Call 833-700-2133

What Happens If You Don’t Treat Dry Eye Syndrome?

girl sitting in the pool 640×350Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a condition where your eyes either produce low-quality tears or don’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes hydrated. Sometimes the meibomian glands inside your eyelids, which produce the oily layer of your tears, don’t function properly or are blocked, causing your tears to dry out. Environmental factors, certain medical conditions and several medications can also cause DES.

Tears are essential for maintaining eye health and comfort. They moisten your eyes and remove debris. In severe cases, untreated dry eye syndrome can actually damage your cornea and cause vision loss.

The amount of dryness varies in severity from person to person. If you have a minor case of dry eye, you may be able to manage it with over-the-counter eye drops. However, if the problem persists or appears to be getting worse, it’s time to visit your eye doctor, who will assess your eyes, find the underlying problem and offer treatment for lasting relief.

Below is a list of complications that may occur if chronic dry eye syndrome isn’t treated:

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis refers to infected or inflamed conjunctiva — the clear layer of cells that covers the white part of your eyeball and the inner surface of your eyelids. Symptoms include grittiness, redness and sensitivity to light.

Keratitis

Keratitis refers to an inflammation of the cornea. It can be caused by different types of infections, abnormalities of the eyelids, injury and dry eye. If the deeper layers of the cornea are involved, scarring or a corneal ulcer may result, particularly if left untreated.

Corneal Ulcer

A corneal ulcer is an open sore that develops on the cornea—the clear, protective outer layer of your eyes.

While corneal ulcers typically develop following an injury, they can also be caused by severe dry eye.

On a daily basis, debris, like dirt and sand particles, enter your eyes and scratch the surface of the cornea. When your tear glands don’t produce enough tears to wash away the particles, bacteria can infect the scratch and cause an ulcer.

Luckily, corneal ulcers are easily treated with antibiotic eye drops. Left untreated, however, these ulcers can spread and scar the eyeball, causing partial or even complete blindness.

Inability to wear contact lenses

Unless your eyes produce enough good-quality tears, your contact lenses can become overly dry, leading to a gritty sensation, irritation and redness. Without sufficient moisture, your contacts may stick to your eyeball, making it difficult to remove them.

Though chronic dry eye syndrome may prevent you from wearing standard contact lenses, certain specialized contact lenses can improve ocular hydration and comfort.

Difficulty keeping your eyes open

Depending on the severity of dry eye, it may be difficult to keep your eyes open. This may occur if dry eye syndrome causes extreme light sensitivity or a chronic sensation that something is stuck in your eye.

While artificial tears may provide enough moisture to partially open your eyes, you may still feel the urge to squint, especially when exposed to a computer screen or sunlight.

Difficulty reading or driving

While blurred vision often signals that you need a stronger prescription, it’s also a common symptom of chronic dry eye syndrome.

Left untreated, the blurriness may worsen and even lead to double vision. Naturally, this makes driving and reading a real struggle.

Headaches

While there’s room for more research, studies have shown that there may be a connection between headaches and dry eye. A population-based case study of more than 72,000 patients published by JAMA Ophthalmology (2019) found that people who suffer from migraine headaches are more likely to have dry eyes compared to the general population.

It’s not clear why. According to the paper, being female and of advanced age play an important role in determining the strength of this association.

Depression

A 2015 study, published in the journal Cornea evaluated the connection between dry eye disease and depressive symptoms in more than 6,000 women. Researchers found that women diagnosed with dry eye had a higher likelihood of developing depressive moods, anxiety, and psychological stress.

While the connection isn’t fully understood, researchers noted that some medications for treating depression have a drying effect on the eyes, and that dry eye syndrome may limit a person’s participation in activities, to the point where they may become anxious, withdrawn and even depressed.

If you have dry eye, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Dry Eye Center in order to find the best treatment options and thus increase the quality of your tears and life.

Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Dry Eye Center serves patients from Richmond Hill, Markham, North York, and Vaughn, Ontario and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Radhika Chawla

Q: How do I know if I have dry eye syndrome?

  • A: If you experience itchiness, light sensitivity, tearing and tired eyes, it could indicate that you have dry eye syndrome. Get your eyes checked by an eye doctor, who will thoroughly diagnose your symptoms and offer lasting treatment.

Q: What causes dry eye?

  • A: Various things can cause dry, itchy eyes. Some of the most common causes include blocked glands, environmental factors (wind, air pollution), infrequent blinking, certain medications, standard contact lenses and Demodex mites.

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Request A Dry Eye Appointment Today
You Have Dry Eye? Call 833-700-2133

What’s a Chalazion?

What is a Chalazion 640Finding a lump on your eyelid can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Luckily, a chalazion isn’t a serious condition and is rather simple to resolve.

In most cases, a chalazion can easily be treated and will completely disappear following treatment. However, if non-invasive treatments don’t work, your eye doctor may need to remove it through an in-office surgical procedure.

At Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Dry Eye Center we can diagnose and help treat your chalazion so that you can see comfortably.

What is a Chalazion?

A chalazion, also known as a meibomian cyst, is a small fluid-filled cyst.

Eyelids contain meibomian glands, which produce oil to lubricate the surface of the eye. When one of these glands becomes blocked, it may cause swelling and lead to a small painless lump called a chalazion.

What Causes a Chalazion?

A chalazion occurs when the gland in the eyelid is clogged. Exactly why the gland becomes clogged isn’t known, but some individuals appear to be more susceptible to developing a chalazion than others.

A chalazion may be associated with dry eye syndrome, which is often caused by meibomian gland dysfunction.

People exhibiting certain risk factors are more likely to develop a chalazion. This includes people who have:

  • Blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids
  • Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye
  • Thicker oil or meibum than normal consistency
  • Ocular rosacea, a skin condition adjacent to the eyes
  • Seborrhea, or dandruff, of the eyelashes
  • Styes or a history of styes

What Are the Symptoms of a Chalazion?

Common symptoms of a chalazion include:

  • A bump on the eyelid that sometimes becomes swollen and red
  • An entirely swollen eyelid, although very rare
  • Vision issues (such as blurred vision) if the chalazion becomes large enough to press on the eyeball

While a chalazion is not an infection, it may become infected. In the rare event that this occurs, it may become red, more severely swollen, and painful.

Chalazia are often mistaken for styes since they have a similar appearance.

What’s the Difference Between a Chalazion and a Stye?

It can be difficult to differentiate a chalazion from a stye.

Styes develop along the edge of your eyelid and can at times be seen at the base of an eyelash. In contrast, chalazia usually occur closer to the middle of the eyelid. A stye is more likely to be painful and tends to have a yellowish spot at the center that may burst after a few days.

Basically, the most noticeable difference between a chalazion and a stye is that a chalazion tends to be painless while a stye is usually painful and may cause the eye to feel sore, itchy or scratchy.

How to Treat a Chalazion

Most chalazia require minimal medical treatment and some may even clear up on their own in a few weeks to a month. When a chalazion first appears, you can try doing the following for 1-2 days:

  • Apply a warm compress to the eyelid for 10 to 15 minutes, 4 to 6 times a day. The warm compress helps soften the hardened oil that blocks the ducts, allowing drainage and healing.
  • Gently massage the external eyelids for several minutes each day to help promote drainage.

If the chalazion does not drain and heal within a few days, contact your eye doctor. Don’t attempt to squeeze or pop the chalazion, as it may inadvertently cause more damage.

To learn more about chalazion treatment and the other eye care services we offer, call Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Dry Eye Center to schedule an appointment.

Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic Dry Eye Center serves patients from Richmond Hill, Markham, North York, and Vaughn, Ontario and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Radhika Chawla

Q: Can a chalazion spread from one person to another?

  • A: Since a chalazion is not an infection, it cannot spread from one person to another or even to the other eye of the affected person.

Q: Can a chalazion affect my eyesight?

  • A: A chalazion doesn’t affect vision. In rare cases, if the lump is large enough to distort the ocular surface it can cause temporary astigmatism, blurring vision. However, vision will return to normal once a medical professional removes the chalazion or once it diminishes in size.

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Request A Dry Eye Appointment Today
You Have Dry Eye? Call 833-700-2133