Will Dry Eyes Heal on Their Own?

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Itchiness, redness, and excessive tear production from dry eyes can be disruptive to your daily routine. When dry eyes are left untreated, a host of advanced eye problems can occur that negatively impact your vision. Dr. Daniel Tepper at Wickerpark Eye Center in Chicago, IL offers high-quality eye exams and treatments to resolve dry eyes.

What is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome, or dry eyes, is a condition that affects millions of Americans. Dry eyes occur due to insufficient tear production, which often results from problems with the glands surrounding the eyes. If the eyes can’t stay adequately wet, this makes focusing the vision difficult and causes discomfort.

What are the symptoms of dry eye?

Dr. Tepper may suspect dry eye syndrome during an exam if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • Eye redness

  • Eye itchiness

  • Blurred vision at night

  • Increased need to use eye drops

  • Sensitive or scratchy eyes

  • Difficulty with contact lenses

What causes dry eye syndrome?

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is the official medical term used to describe decreased fluid production in the eyes. The fluid is composed of water, mucus, and fatty oils used to lubricate the eyes and to ward off infection. Decreased fluid production in the eye has many causes, including:

  • Medications (antidepressants)

  • Medical conditions

  • Age

  • Hormone replacement therapy

  • Damage to the tear glands

  • Post-laser eye surgery

  • Blocked tear ducts

  • Meibomian gland dysfunction

  • Environmental causes, such as wind, dry air, and smoke

  • Prolonged use of contact lenses

  • Extended computer use

  • Diets that are low in certain vitamins and fatty acids

Since fluid production tends to reduce with age, individuals over the age of 50 are at greater risk for developing dry eyes. Additionally, women are more likely to report dry eye symptoms, often due to hormone fluctuations.

Can dry eyes heal on their own?

Dry eyes can be temporary or chronic. If symptoms result from routine or environmental factors that can be changed, then symptoms may go away on their own. However, if low fluid production results from problems with the tear glands surrounding the eyes, we recommend seeking professional help for proper evaluation and treatment options. Untreated, dry eyes can lead to serious complications, including eye infections, conjunctivitis, and damage to the cornea, which can leave residual abrasions or scarring.

What treatments are available for dry eyes?

At Wickerpark Eye Center in Chicago, IL, we offer several noninvasive treatment options:

Eye drops: prescription or over-the-counter artificial tears used to lubricate the eyes to resolve mild dryness

Blephadex™ Eyelid Wipes: preservative-free wipes used to relieve symptoms without burning or stinging sensation

Punctal plugs: small devices placed in the tear ducts made from dissolvable or semi-permanent materials to stop tear drainage

Warm compresses: compress used to dissolve blockages under the eyelid, including those in oil glands to provide relief; often used for meibomian gland disease.

LipiFlow: the thermal pulsation system used to heat up and massage away blockages that prevent fluid from forming around the outer surface of the eye.

IPL: Intense pulsed light treatment used to liquefy hardened oils that are clogging the meibomian glands in the eyelids; also helps with vascularization and eyelid inflammation

BlephEx: an in-office treatment that removes bacterial biofilm in the eyelids that has accumulated for years to allow for sufficient tear production

Does insurance cover dry eye treatment?

Insurance coverage options will depend on the policy and the recommended treatment options. Most eye insurances cover or partially cover the evaluation and treatment of dry eyes.

How can dry eyes be prevented?

The team at Wickerpark Eye Center can help patients identify routine and environmental triggers for dry eye symptoms. Once those triggers have been identified, use any of the following recommendations to prevent dry eye symptoms:

  • Wear protective eyewear outdoors

  • Quit smoking and avoid smoky environments

  • Stay hydrated

  • Get plenty of sleep

  • Use a humidifier

  • Apply artificial teardrops if recommended by your doctor

  • Be mindful of how often you blink throughout the day

  • Take relaxation eye breaks, especially during computer use

Where to get treatment for dry eye syndrome

Dr. Daniel Tepper, a board-certified ophthalmologist, has been serving patients in Chicago, IL and the greater surrounding areas for more than 20 years. If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eye syndrome, contact Dr. Tepper at Wickerpark Eye Center today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.