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Do You Need a Dry Eye Doctor?

If you suspect you are suffering from dry eye, you should not wait for the symptoms to become unbearable. It can disrupt your daily life, and the symptoms will only get worse over time. Dry eye can cause damage to the front surface of the eye, so you should see an eye doctor at Advanced Eyecare Consultants as soon as you develop symptoms. 

You should seek an optometrist if you have noticed specific dry eye symptoms or any other visual issue. These are eye doctors who are concerned primarily about eye health. They diagnose different eye problems and recommend a treatment plan.

You may also see an ophthalmologist for your dry eye. If the case is severe and there is damage to the front of the eye, you may need to see a corneal specialist.


What Is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a chronic condition that affects the tears in your eyes. Depending on the type of dry eye, you may have poor quality tears or a low supply of tears.

Tears are essential in ocular health because they help keep the eye lubricated. Lubrication helps maintain clear vision and the health of the ocular structures like the sclera and cornea. They also prevent infections and wash away debris and other foreign objects that enter the eye.


What Are Notable Dry Eye Symptoms?

The most common symptoms of dry eye are irritation, redness, and burning. The other symptoms are:


  • Watery eyes

  • The feeling of sand in the eye

  • Light sensitivity

  • Stinging

  • Strings of mucus in the eye

  • Blurry vision

  • Excessive discomfort when you have contact lenses


How Do Doctors Diagnose Dry Eye?

Several tests can determine whether you have dry eye and which type of dry eye you have.


Comprehensive Eye Exam

This is the most common series of tests that any eye doctor will run. It includes looking at your medical and eye history, which helps the eye doctor determine the cause of your dry eye.


Measuring the Volume of Tears

Eye doctors use a test—the Schirmer's test—to measure the volume of your tears. It involves placing blotting strips of paper beneath your lower eyelids. The tears that soak the blotting paper will help the eye doctor determine the volume of your tears.

Another test that measures tear volume is the phenol red thread test. It involves placing a pH-sensitive thread over the lower eyelid. The tears will change the color of the thread, and how much of the thread color changes determines your tear volume.


Determining the Quality of Your Tears

This test determines not only the quality of tears but also the condition of the surface of your eye. They will use special dye eye drops that causes staining patterns on the cornea. They will also help determine how long it takes for your tears to evaporate.


The Tears Osmolarity Test

The tear's osmolarity test measures the water composition and other particles in your tears. If you have dry eyes, your tears will have fewer quantities of water.


What Conditions Do Dry Eye Specialists Treat?

Three main conditions cause dry eyes that specialists will treat.


  • Meibomian gland dysfunction

  • Blepharitis

  • Some autoimmune disorders such as Sjogren’s syndrome

For more on needing a dry eye doctor, visit Advanced Eyecare Consultants at our office in Libertyville or Lake Zurich, Illinois. Call 847-994-4500 or 847-438-7700 to book an appointment today.

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