Posted by: Associates in Ophthalmology (NJ) in Eye Health

girl putting eye drops

Dry eyes are a common allergy symptom and also often occur when seasons change. Millions of people suffer from dry eyes every year.

Most people experience them as the seasons and environmental conditions shift. But, if you have chronic dry eyes that stay with you year-round, you may have a deeper issue.

Keep reading to learn more about dry eyes and what happens if you don’t treat them.

What Are Dry Eyes?

Dry eyes are a condition that causes your eyes to dry out, get irritated, and feel raw and uncomfortable. Dry eyes can be temporary and change with environmental conditions. Or they can be chronic and produce symptoms year-round.

If dry eyes are from the environment, eye drops, humidifiers, and other simple fixes should keep them moist. But if you have chronic dry eye, also called dry eye syndrome, you have a more significant problem.

Dry eye syndrome requires more serious treatment than the simple fixes that relieve temporary dry eyes. If you have chronic dry eyes, the likely cause is one of two places in your tear production system.

The first likely cause is that your body does not produce enough tears. Fixing this situation could be as easy as better hydration.

If symptoms persist after getting hydrated, your eye doctor can discuss different treatments with you. The other likely cause of chronic dry eyes is a lack of oil in your tears.

Healthy tears should have water, mucus, and oil in them. Tears without enough oil can evaporate quickly, resulting in dry eyes.

The most likely cause for lack of oil in your tears is a blockage in the oil-producing glands at the edges of your eyelids, called the meibomian glands. Meibomian gland dysfunction or MGD is a leading cause of dry eye syndrome.

If you don’t treat your dry eyes, more severe conditions can develop. Chronic dry eyes can cause:

  • Abrasions on your cornea
  • Eye inflammation
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Vision loss

These conditions can make it hard to see or cause complete vision loss if left untreated.

How Do You Treat MGD?

MGD results from blocked meibomian glands. These oil-producing glands can get clogged with wax and oil, which prevents the oil they make from spreading across the surface of your eyes.

As a result, your tears cannot hydrate your eyes, and they become chronically dry. To correct this issue, you need to unclog your meibomian glands.

iLux dry eye treatment is one of the easiest ways to do this. During iLux treatment, your eye doctor applies light-based heat and gentle pressure to your eyelids. 

The light melts the waxy buildup that is blocking your meibomian glands. The pressure pulls the melting wax out of your glands.

iLux treatment uses a handheld device and takes about ten minutes in your eye doctor’s office. You may see an improvement in your dry eyes immediately.

Full results take two to four weeks to develop, and your eyes should continually feel better over that period. One iLux treatment should be enough to unblock your meibomian glands and get your eyes hydrated again.

But, you can undergo multiple iLux treatments. There is no downtime after the treatment, so you can get back to your daily activities when you leave your appointment.

Do you want to get rid of your chronic dry eyes? Schedule an appointment at Associates in Ophthalmology in Livingston, NJ, to determine which dry eye treatment is best for you!