Could your mom have dry eye? It’s a condition that is common after the age of 50. It’s especially common in women after menopause. It’s hard to ignore. It feels like you have sand or an eyelash trapped under your eyelids. Every time you blink, it feels gritty or scratchy.
Should the condition be allowed to progress, the lack of lubrication can scratch the eye’s protective outer surface. This can impact vision. Dry eye is a condition that needs to be treated.
What Causes Dry Eye?
Dry eyes usually link back to one of two issues. One is that the glands that produce tears are not producing enough in quantity. With fewer tears lubricating the eyes, the eyes become drier. The other issue is that the tears being produced do not have enough of the oil or mucus with the water.
Tears are made up of water that has mucus and oil mixed in. The mucus helps the oil and water spread evenly over the eyes. If there’s not enough of the mucus or oil or the tear isn’t spreading to the entire eye, dry eye will occur.
One of the most common causes of improper tear quality is a blockage or improper function of the meibomian gland. This gland releases the oils that mix into the water and mucus. Without the oil, the water in the tear evaporates faster than it should.
How Do You Treat Dry Eye?
-Oil-based lubricating eye drops are often one of the first things an eye specialist will advise patients to use. Your mom needs an eye drop or gel that contains oil. Redness-reducing eye drops like Visine won’t work. Look for artificial tears that contain oil.
-The doctor may also recommend flax seed and fish oil capsules to increase the levels of omega 3 fatty acids. This can help with oil production and flow from the gland.
-Proper cleansing of the eyelids is important to prevent styes from forming. Your mom’s doctor might also recommend using a warm compress on the eyes for 15-30 minutes every day to help clear blockages.
-Your mom’s doctor may prefer to put your mom on a prescription medication. Medications like Restasis trigger the body to produce more tears. It is important that your mom not drive if temporary blurred vision is a side effect she experiences after using the medication.
-When your mom needs to go out and dry eyes impact her driving, hire caregivers to help her with activities of daily living. If she needs help remembering to take medications on time or driving to stores and appointments, have a caregiver help her. Learn more about other services that help your mom deal with the annoyance of dry eyes. Call a home care agency now.