Dry eyes are uncomfortable and can make it difficult to focus on anything besides the stinging, burning, or itching feeling they cause.
At Wicker Park Eye Center, we take a holistic approach to dry eye treatment and work to address the source of dryness to restore comfort.
Why should I see a professional for dry eyes?
Benefits of Professional Treatment
Once your treatment at our Chicago, IL practice begins, you can enjoy long-lasting relief from dry eye syndrome. The proven procedures offered at our eye center can help patients find relief from the discomfort associated with dry eye. These undesirable symptoms include blurry vision, itchiness, redness, excess tearing, and a host of other eye-related problems.
Minimally Invasive Treatment Options
Many of our proven treatment options, such as prescription eye drops, artificial tears, and warm compresses, are comfortable and gentle. Our doctors will start with conservative, noninvasive treatment options when addressing your dry eye symptoms.
One of the most important benefits of undergoing a professional treatment at our eye center is the preservation of your vision. Dry eye can lead to complications that can damage your eye and reduce your ability to focus with ease.
"Wicker Park Eye Center helped me immensely during my short stay in Chicago! I lost my contacts and didn't have glasses, and needed to drive 100 miles back home, and Tania from Wicker Park Eye Center was so kind and patient. Thank you again for all the help!"- J.M. / Google / Jun 19, 2021
"Pleasant visit, short waiting."- D.C. / Google / Jun 10, 2021
"I had eye surgery and all went well. The Staff did a Job."- J.R. / Google / Jun 10, 2021
"Dr Tepper is a great doctor."- J.L. / Facebook / May 17, 2021
"It was a pleasant experience. Front desk was very welcoming and helpful. Cyanna and Gigi were very helpful and work with me on all my questions and picking out my glasses."- L.G. / Google / May 10, 2021
Symptoms and Causes Of Dry Eyes
The condition known as dry eye affects millions of Americans each year. It results when the eyes do not produce enough tears to stay adequately wet or the tears are of poor quality (often caused by a problem with the glands that surround the eyes). Dry eye causes discomfort that can make daily tasks difficult. Focusing can become difficult as well.
For many patients, dry eye syndrome is a progressive disorder, meaning that it may not subside on its own or simply through the use of over-the-counter artificial tears or ointment. This is one reason why early diagnosis and treatment at our Chicago eye center are so critical. During your eye exam at our office, several symptoms may lead to a diagnosis of dry eye syndrome:
- Eye redness
- Scratchy or sensitive eyes
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Blurred vision at night
- Difficulty focusing
- Frequent need to use eye drops
Take Our Dry Eye Evaluation
If you regularly experience any of these symptoms, you should see a qualified eye doctor who can diagnose the cause of your eye irritations. Dr. Daniel J. Tepper is a board-certified ophthalmologist with over 20 years of experience, and our other provider, Dr. Parisha Shah, is a fellowship-trained optometrist.
Before you meet with our team, we encourage you to take a dry eye self-evaluation.
Causes of Decreased Fluid Production
The fluid that covers the eyes is a mix of mucus, water, and fatty oils that play an important role in maintaining your ocular health. Tears keep the surface of your eyes lubricated so you can see clearly, and the liquid helps prevent infections.
There are many reasons why the production of fluids may become impeded. The medical term for this condition is keratoconjunctivitis sicca. The decreased production may be caused by:
- Certain medical conditions
- Certain medications
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Previous laser eye surgery that affects the eyelids or glands near the eye
- Tear gland damage
- Blocked tear ducts
- Meibomian gland dysfunction
Causes of Increased Evaporation
Environmental factors can also lead to dry eye symptoms. During your visit to our Chicago eye center, one of our eye doctors will assess whether tear evaporation is the cause of your dry eye. Possible causes of increased tear evaporation include:
Wind, dry air, and smoke can all increase dry eye symptoms. Many of our patients have seasonal complaints of dry eye.
Spending long hours on the computer can cause you to blink less frequently, drying out the surface of your eyes.
Individuals who are over 50 are at an increased risk of developing dry eye. Fluid production near the eyes tends to lower with age, meaning individuals with advanced age are more likely to experience dry eye symptoms.
Women are more likely to report dry eye symptoms than men. This may be due to hormonal fluctuations that naturally occur at different life stages.
Diets that are low in certain vitamins and fatty acids can also impede tear production.
Individuals who wear contact lenses are also at risk of developing dry eye syndrome.
Dry eye is a serious condition that can lead to potentially dangerous side effects and complications. Untreated dry eye can raise your risk of eye infection. Tears play an important role in preventing the spread of dangerous forms of bacteria. Severe cases of dry eye can lead to eye inflammation (conjunctivitis) and damage to the surface of your cornea. This damage can include minor abrasions or scarring. Even if you do not suffer from complications, dry eye almost always negatively impacts a patient’s quality of life.
The first step toward relief begins with a comprehensive eye exam at our Chicago eye clinic. Our office has a reputation for always respecting our patients’ schedules and their time. Your exam will include a conversation with one of our highly trained doctors who will listen carefully as you describe your symptoms, then recommend the best solution.
Preparing For Your Appointment
Patients can help by coming prepared with important information, such as:
- A detailed list of symptoms and when are the most noticeable (when outdoors, during the winter, in the morning, etc.)
- A thorough list of all medications (over-the-counter and prescription), ointments, vitamins, and supplements that are regularly taken
- Notes about important life changes
- Artificial tears you have tried in the past
We welcome patients to come with a list of questions they may have. Our team believes in empowering our patients through education. Examples of common questions include:
- What are my treatment options?
- Will my symptoms get better or worse on their own?
- What steps can I take to manage my symptoms at home?
- What is likely causing my dry eye symptoms?
- Is past surgery contributing to my dry eye?
Your comprehensive eye exam will include an evaluation of your overall health and eyelids. Your doctor will be looking for certain risk factors that may be causing your eyes to feel dry. Our office offers multiple tests that can measure the volume and quality of your tears. Some patients may benefit from a test that uses a special dye to determine the quality and quantity of tears. Our office also has an advanced slit lamp that can identify potential eye problems. By the time your comprehensive exam is complete, we will ideally diagnose the underlying cause of your eye dryness and a personalized treatment plan will be recommended.
The doctors of Wicker Park Eye Center will begin by providing conservative and effective treatments. Some of these treatment options may include recommended changes to your diet or daily habits. Our office offers several effective treatment options for dry eye:
Artificial tears and lubricating eye drops are generally a good solution for mild dryness resulting from computer use or other causes. If over-the-counter drops are not sufficient, we can prescribe medicated drops. These types can address swelling and other potential causes of eye dryness.
Blephadex™ Eyelid Wipes
The eyelid wipes from Blephadex are preservative-free and use natural ingredients to relieve the symptoms of dry, itchy eyes without the burning or stinging sensation of other brands. Wipes are a convenient and simple method that can be incorporated into your daily hygiene routine.
Punctal plugs are tiny devices that are placed in the tear ducts during one appointment. The plugs can be made from dissolvable or semi-permanent materials and are made to stop tear drainage. We use extended duration punctal plugs, which are the most comfortable variety available.
If you suffer from blocked oil glands (meibomian glands), a warm compress can aid in dissolving blockages from under your eyelid. Warm compresses offer a safe and effective way to unclog oil glands and provide relief from the common condition known as meibomian gland disease.
Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) leads to dry eyes as it can cause blockages that prevent the thin layer of fluid that covers the outer surface of your eye from forming. The LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System uses a state-of-the-art device to heat up and massage away blockages in a single visit to Wicker Park Eye Center.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment can address dry eye issues associated with MGD. IPL liquefies the hardened oils clogging the meibomian glands in your eyelids. Intense pulsed light treatment also helps with the vascularization and inflammation of your eyelids, which in turn, leads to healthy eyelid function.
Years of accumulated bacterial biofilm can lead to dry eye. BlephEx is a painless, in-office procedure that can effectively remove years of accumulated bacterial biofilm. After BlephEx treatment, your eyelids are both cleaner and healthier, allowing them to proceed with normal tear production.
If you experience dry eyes, pay attention to potential triggers. If your eyes become irritated after wearing lenses for several hours, you may need to try using a different type of contact lens. Our doctors will provide practical advice on how you can lower the occurrence of dry eye symptoms. Additional tips include:
- Use a humidifier
- Wear protective eyewear when outdoors
- Take breaks to relax your eyes
- Be mindful of how often you blink
- Apply quality artificial teardrops
- Quit smoking and avoid smoky areas
- Stay hydrated
- Get adequate sleep at night
Treating Dry Eyes Is Typically Affordable And Insured
The cost of treating dry eyes depends on several factors, including:
The Severity of Your Symptoms
If you only have mild dryness, you may be able to treat your symptoms with eye drops or eyelid wipes, which will cost less than placing punctal plugs.
Your Insurance Coverage
Often, vision insurance will cover the costs of diagnosing and treating dry eyes. If you do not have insurance, your out-of-pocket expenses will likely be higher.
In some cases, we will need to perform additional tests to determine the root cause of your dry eye symptoms. These tests may add to your final bill.
Our team can give you a personalized cost estimate after performing a dry eye evaluation at our office.
If you suffer from dry eye syndrome, you are not alone.
3.2 million women and 1.6 million men over 50 suffer from dry eye syndrome in the U.S.
*According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology*
Get the treatment you need to find relief at Wicker Park Eye Center.
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