Do your eyes ever feel gritty? Sandy? Do they burn? Feel like a foreign body or eyelash is in them at the end of the day? These symptoms are often due to dry eye disease.
It is estimated that dry eye affects nearly 1 in 5 Americans.
Courtney Dryer, OD, is a 2011 graduate of SCO from Charlotte, NC. She's the owner of Autarchic Spec Shop. She consults with new graduate optometrists on start-up practices and contributes regularly to Invision Magazine and more industry publications. She was featured in Women in Optometry and named a Rising Star, and one of the most influential women in optical by Vision Monday.
In the U.S., there were 24.4 million cases of cataracts in 2010, and the number is expected to double to 50 million by 2050, according to the National Eye Institute.
A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens inside the eye which leads to a decline in vision. Aging is the most common reason for a cataract, but other factors include disease, trauma, and certain medications. Most cataracts grow slowly over decades, but some may progress more quickly.
The crystalline lens is the structure located in the middle of the eye, in front of the retina, but behind the iris (colored part). All light that enters the eye goes through the cornea and the lens to get to the retina. If a cataract is affecting the lens, distorted vision is the result. Glasses and contacts are unable to correct the vision until the cataract is removed.
Besides correcting vision, contact lenses may be potential treatment devices to relieve eye pain, help the cornea to heal from injury, protect and hydrate the surface of the cornea from dry eye disease, and deliver medications to the eye.
Many ocular conditions like allergic conjunctivitis, dry eye, and glaucoma are treated using eye drops. It is estimated that 95% of the active ingredient in the medication may be lost through tear drainage. Technological advancements have made it possible to use soft contact lenses to deliver a continuous release of medication over a duration of time to treat ocular conditions and disease.
The ability of the soft contact lens to absorb and release a drug is based on the contact lens material. Their potential as a treatment depends on the water content, the thickness of the lens, the molecular weight of the drug, the drug concentration, and the time it remains within the lens.
Topical eye drops can be an inconvenient burden for patients. Delivering medication by way of a contact lens has many benefits and offers a glimpse into the future of treatment.
Let’s look at the potential benefits of using contact lenses to deliver medication to your eyes.
It’s often said the brain is an extension of the eye, and for that reason a headache may be a symptom of an vision problem. Headaches that are related to the eye can be of the forehead, temples, behind the eyes, and at the back of the skull. They may be excruciating or dull. They may or not be alleviated by Tylenol or sleep. They may even present with blurred vision.
If you are having headaches with blurry vision, your eye doctor may ask you the following questions:
Here are the 8 most common reasons for headaches combined with blurry vision, and how they are diagnosed and treated.
Approximately 16 million Americans have been diagnosed with dry eye, and millions more have symptoms but remained undiagnosed. Dry eye can result from inadequate tear production or poor tear quality. Symptoms include:
Those over 65 and female are most likely to have symptoms. However, children are commonly diagnosed due to their significant digital device use. Once you have been diagnosed, it is important to understand dry eye is a chronic condition that will always require treatment.
Your doctor will prescribe dry eye treatment tailored to your eyes, however, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to alleviate or improve your dry eye symptoms.