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Dry Eye

Dry Eye Treatment with Associates in Eyecare in Northern Virginia

Our staff at Associates in Eyecare has met thousands of people struggling with dry eye. We believe understanding the root cause of this condition is essential for proper treatment. 

woman with dry eye

Common Causes and Symptoms of Dry Eye 

Eyes become dry when a person's tears (which usually cover the outer surface of the eyes in a thin layer) become insufficient in quality and/or quantity. Common causes of dry eye include:

  • Autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjögren's syndrome 
  • Meibomian gland dysfunction (these glands normally secrete oil into the tears to stop tears from evaporating too quickly)
  • Medication side effects
  • Drastic weather changes (especially cold dry air)
  • Allergies, especially to dust, pet dander, mold, mildew, fungus, and pollen
  • Exposure to environmental allergens, including smoke and household chemicals
  • Irritation or allergies to cosmetics, contacts, or contact lens solution

The presence of one or more of these factors can lead to classic dry eye signs and symptoms, which include:

  • Dry, itchy, red, painful, and irritated eyes
  • The feeling of having something gritty stuck in the eye
  • Photosensitivity
  • Blurry vision
  • Watery discharge
  • Crusty residue on the eyelids and lashes

Optometry Treatment Options for Dry Eye in Northern Virginia

Ideally, our optometry team will help you avoid dry eye before having to worry about treating dry eye. Prevention involves regular eye exams, where our optometrist staff can assess the internal and external structures of your eyes and look for early warning signs of inflammation and tear film disruption. We can also ask questions about your personal and family history.

If dry eyes do develop, our eye doctor team can offer you several options for treatment and relief. We'll start with lab tests and other diagnostic techniques to determine the cause of your dry eye—essential for appropriate treatment. Based on your diagnosis, we can provide the necessary treatment plan, which often includes:

  • Medicated eye drops to reduce inflammation or increase moisture
  • Recommendations for medications to manage underlying health conditions, including autoimmune disorders
  • Pre- and post-operative care for procedures such as tear duct plugging
  • Hard-to-fit contact lens prescription (such as scleral lenses), to improve comfort and practicality of corrective eyewear
  • Recommendations for nutritional supplements, avoidance of environmental triggers, good hand hygiene (to avoid infection and corneal abrasions), and the use of humidifiers and cool or warm compresses

Are You or a Loved One Exhibiting Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye? 

Contact Associates in Eyecare today to schedule an appointment with a Northern Virginia optometrist and start feeling and seeing better ASAP. We proudly serve the Virginian communities of Ashburn, Bristow, Chantilly, D.C., Dumfries, Dunn Loring, McLean, Oakton, and Stone Ridge.