Dry Eye Disease & Treatment in Birmingham, AL

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Birmingham Dry Eye Clinics

Dry Eye Disease, also known as Dry Eye Syndrome, often causes discomfort and irritation. Fortunately, the experienced doctors at Alabama Vision Center offer a range of dry eye disease treatments to help you achieve relief.

Book an appointment with one of our dry eye disease specialists in or around the Birmingham, Alabama area today!

What is Dry Eye Disease?

Dry Eye Disease, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, or Dry Eye Syndrome, is a very common, chronic eye condition resulting when eyes produce insufficient tears or tears that are of poor quality. Healthy eyes are covered by a thin tear film to help with vision, provide lubrication, act as a barrier against infection, and to wash away foreign matter. 

Dry eye is a common condition, impacting more than 16 million adults in the United States.¹ While occasional dry eye can be uncomfortable and irritating, chronic dry eye can prevent people from enjoying the activities they love and may cause damage, often irreversible damage, to the eyes if left untreated. At Alabama Vision Center in Birmingham, AL, we offer a range of treatments designed to address both the symptoms and causes of chronic dry eye.

If you are experiencing any of the following, you may have dry eye:

  • Irritated eyes, especially in the presence of wind or smoke

  • Itchy, scratchy, or burning sensation

  • Feeling like there is something in your eyes

  • Blurred vision that comes and goes, especially with reading or computer use

  • Tired eyes with prolonged reading

  • Intermittent sharp, stabbing eye pain

  • Watering eyes

  • Stringy mucus

  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses

What Causes Dry Eye?

Dry Eye Disease can have many contributing causes. Some causes or risk factors include but are not limited to:

  • Aging

  • Extended screen time

  • Prolonged sun exposure

  • Hormonal imbalances or changes, such as menopause

  • Frequent use of certain medications, such as antihistamines, diuretics, birth control pills, or decongestants

  • Glaucoma eye drops

  • Systemic illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid conditions, Sjogren’s Syndrome, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases

  • Eyelid diseases such as Demodex, blepharitis, or Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

  • Gender: women are more likely to develop Dry Eye Syndrome

How is Dry Eye Diagnosed?

When patients complain of dry, irritated eyes, the eye doctors at Alabama Vision Center can perform tests to diagnose the source of the discomfort and recommend the most appropriate course of treatment. These tests may include:

  • Schirmer Test: measures the rate of tear production

  • Tear Osmolarity Test: measures tear quality

  • Lipiscan: provides a detailed analysis of your oil gland function and structure, along with blinking anomalies, to help detect inflammatory markers and salt content of your tears

  • Corneal Staining: assesses the condition of the front of your eye and tear quality

  • Tear Break-Up Test: helps determine the stability of tear film

  • External Examination: checks for signs of blepharitis and evaluates blink dynamics and structure of your eyelids

  • Magnification: examines your corneas and eyelids in great detail

  • Laboratory Tests: helps determine if the source is an underlying medical condition

In addition to performing tests, your doctor will ask you about your lifestyle, work environment, medications, and detailed health history.

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Looking for Dry Eye Relief?

Contact the Dry Eye experts at Alabama Vision Center today to schedule an eye exam in one of our convenient locations in and around the Birmingham, Alabama area. 

How is Dry Eye Treated?

If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eye, these over-the-counter treatment options may provide some relief.

Lubricating Eye Drops or Artificial Tears

This is often the first step to relief from dry eye symptoms. Be sure to look for eye drops that are designed to lubricate, not just reduce redness.

Lifestyle and Environmental Changes

Reducing screen time and wearing glasses with non-glare lenses that filter blue light can help alleviate dry eye and eye fatigue from computer screens and digital devices. 

Practice the 20/20/20 Rule while using computers: Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break, looking at something 20 feet away. You may also try directing fans and vents away from your eyes and protecting your eyes in dry or windy weather.

Warm Compresses

A warm, moist compress applied to the eyes for 15 minutes at a time can help unblock oil glands and trigger the eyes to produce more tears. This also helps comfort eyes that are irritated.

Diet, Supplements, and Vitamins

A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help with tear production. Eye health supplements may also help.

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Professional Dry Eye Treatments

If you are unable to achieve suitable relief, our doctors can provide effective treatment. This may include:

Prescription Eye Drops

Our doctors can prescribe specialized eye drops to help decrease inflammation, lubricate the surface of the eye, and minimize irritation. These drops can help your body produce more tears naturally.

Punctal Plugs

Punctal plugs, also known as tear duct plugs, are small devices that our doctors can insert into the inner corners of the eyelids. This prevents tears from leaving the eyes too quickly, promoting lasting lubrication, and alleviating symptoms of dry eye.

Prokera® Amniotic Membrane

Damage caused by dry eye can be treated with this biological corneal bandage.


Dry Eye Disease Frequently Asked Questions

My Eyes Water Too Much. Why Was I Diagnosed With Dry Eye?

It may seem odd that overly watery eyes are a symptom of dry eye disease, but it’s true. Excessive tearing is your body’s way of reacting to irritation or excessive dryness of the eyes.

Can Dry Eye Be Cured?

For most patients, dry eye disease cannot be cured. However, with effective treatment our eye doctors are able to provide patients with significant, long-lasting symptom relief and can prevent irreversible damage to the eye and surrounding tissue.

Can Dry Eye Disease Damage My Eyes?

Yes. In cases where patients suffer from moderate to severe, chronic dry eye, it is possible to incur damage to the eyes and surrounding tissue. Untreated dry eye may lead to pain, recurrent infections, corneal ulcers, corneal scars, and even vision loss.

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Book Your Dry Eye Diseases Treatment Consultation

Do you think, or have been told you have dry eye disease? Book an appointment with the trusted Birmingham, AL eye doctors of Alabama Vision Center. We’ll diagnose the source of your dry eyes and come up with treatment options that best meet your needs.

 

Relief is just a call or click away!

 

888.841.3937

¹Farrand KF, Fridman M, Stillman IÖ, Schaumberg DA. Prevalence of Diagnosed Dry Eye Disease in the United States Among Adults Aged 18 Years and Older. Am J Ophthalmol. 2017;182:90‐98. doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2017.06.033. Available: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28705660/.