What Happens if Dry Eye is Not Treated?

You might have experienced that uncomfortable, gritty sensation in your eyes at some point in your life. Millions are affected by a condition known as dry eye. It’s a common affliction where your eyes fail to produce enough quality tears to stay properly lubricated. Your eyes rely on a steady film of tears for protection, nourishment, and comfort. When this balance is disrupted, the result is often dry eye, a condition that if ignored, can lead to more than just discomfort.

Causes of Dry Eye

The meibomian glands are tiny oil glands lined along the edges of your eyelids, crucial for producing the oily layer of the tear film. When these glands don’t function properly—a condition known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)—they either secrete oil that is too thick or not enough oil, leading to rapid evaporation of your tears. This is one of the primary causes of dry eye.

Common symptoms include a burning sensation, itchiness, a feeling of something in your eye, redness, blurred vision, and even watery eyes, which might seem counterintuitive.

Understanding the Risks of Untreated Dry Eye

When dry eye is not treated, it can result in more than just momentary discomfort. In the short term, you may experience increased eye fatigue, especially after prolonged periods of reading or screen time. This can hinder your productivity and make daily tasks challenging. Your vision may also suffer, as dry eyes can cause fluctuating or blurry vision, complicating tasks that require visual precision.

The long-term consequences of untreated dry eye extend beyond discomfort. Persistent dryness can lead to the surface of your eyes becoming damaged. The lack of a protective tear film exposes the cornea and conjunctiva to the elements, potentially leading to inflammation or infection. Over time, these complications can seriously impair your vision.

Without a stable layer of tears, your eyes are more vulnerable to infections. The tears serve as a barrier, washing away potential pathogens. If this defense is compromised, the risk of conjunctivitis and other bacterial infections increases. These infections can not only cause discomfort but also require medical treatment to resolve.

How Heights Vision Specialists in Houston Tackle Dry Eye

At Heights Vision Specialists in Houston, tackling dry eye begins with a comprehensive eye exam. Our therapeutic optometrist will assess your eyes using advanced diagnostic tools to determine the severity of your dry eye and the effectiveness of your meibomian glands. This thorough approach ensures that the root cause of your symptoms is identified, paving the way for tailored treatment.

At Heights Vision Specialists, we create personalized treatment plans. Depending on the severity and underlying cause of your dry eye, your treatment may include artificial tears, prescription eye drops, eyelid hygiene regimens, or in-office procedures to unblock meibomian glands.

To provide relief and manage dry eye effectively, we utilize state-of-the-art therapies. This can involve the use of thermal pulsation treatments, intense pulsed light therapy, or the latest in medicated eye drops. These advanced treatments are designed to restore the function of your tear film and provide long-term relief from dry eye symptoms.

Navigating Dry Eye Effectively

Dry eye is a condition that you shouldn't ignore. While it might appear as a mere inconvenience at first, the long-term risks of untreated dry eye are significant. They range from the discomfort and vision issues in the short term to increased risks of infection, potential corneal damage, and negative impacts on surgical outcomes in the long term. The quality of your life can be greatly affected, making it crucial to seek professional help.

Don’t let dry eye go untreated and evolve into a more serious condition. Reach out to Heights Vision Specialists at our office in Houston, Texas, for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs. Call (832) 501-3300 to schedule an appointment today.