If your eyes are always itchy and watering, you may have dry eye, a condition where you don’t produce enough quality tears to keep your eyes moist and clean. At Desert Ophthalmology, with locations in both Palm Springs and Palm Desert, California, board-certified ophthalmologists Dr. Wallace Goldban, MD, provides expert diagnosis and treatments for dry eye. Call or schedule an appointment online today for effective dry eye relief.

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What is dry eye?

Dry eye is a condition where you don’t produce either a sufficient volume or quality of tears to keep your eyes clean and moist. Your eyes constantly produce tears which spread across your eyes when you blink, rinsing away debris and keeping your eyes moist and healthy.

These tears have three layers: oily, watery, and mucus. The oily layer is on the outside and keeps your tears from drying too quickly, the watery layer is in the center and comprises most of the liquid seen as tears, and the mucus layer is the inner layer and helps spread the tears over your eye and stick to the eye surface.

When you don’t make enough of these tears or insufficient quantities of one of the tear layers, your eyes become dry and irritated.

What are the symptoms of dry eye?

If you have dry eye, you’ll experience symptoms that may include:

  • A painful burning or stinging feeling
  • Itchy eyes
  • Excessive tearing
  • Uncomfortable contact lenses
  • Strings of mucus around your eye

Make an appointment with the doctors at Desert Ophthalmology if you have these symptoms. These doctors have invested in advanced tear osmolarity tests to measure your tears and diagnose the severity of your dry eye.

What causes dry eye?

You’re more likely to develop dry eye as you get older. Other contributing dry eye factors include:

  • Certain medications like diuretics, antihistamines, and decongestants
  • Tear gland damage
  • Medical conditions like diabetes, lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis

You might also temporarily experience dry eye symptoms after laser eye surgery while your eyes recover from the procedure.

How is dry eye treated?

The doctors at Desert Ophthalmology often suggest artificial tear drops to keep your eyes moist. Artificial tears are available at your local drug store without a prescription.

However, if over-the-counter artificial tears aren’t an effective treatment for your symptoms, your ophthalmologist may suggest a procedure to temporarily block your tear ducts, forcing your body to conserve tears. Dr. Goldban places tiny punctal plugs made of silicone or gel into your tear ducts. In some cases, you may benefit from surgery to permanently block your tear ducts.

Your doctor can also prescribe eyedrop medication such as Xiidra® or Restasis® to help your eyes produce more tears.

If you have dry, itchy, or watery eyes, call Desert Ophthalmology or make an appointment online today for expert diagnosis and treatment.