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7 Common Questions About Dry Eye Syndrome, Answered

Elderly Woman with Dry Eye SyndromeMillions of people around the world live with a chronic eye condition called dry eye syndrome (DES). Although DES is quite common, many people don’t know much about it and are seeking answers to their uncomfortable eye condition.

Here are 7 of the most commonly asked questions and answers regarding dry eye syndrome.

1. What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

DES occurs when your eyes aren't getting the moisture they need to function at their best. The tears in your eyes are responsible for keeping them feeling fresh and your vision clear. When your tear production is disrupted, or the quality of your tears is insufficient, your eyes may feel dry and irritated. DES is most frequently a result of poor functioning of the glands in the eyelids, which produce essential oils for the tears.

2. What are the Symptoms of DES?

The main symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:

  • Red, painful eyes
  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Mucus around the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Itchy eyes

    3. What are Risk Factors for Developing Dry Eye Syndrome?

    You are more likely to develop dry eye syndrome if you're:

    • Female
    • Pregnant
    • Above the age of 50
    • Very deficient in Vitamin A
    • Spending several hours per day in front of a digital screen
    • A smoker

    Or if you have:

    • Allergies
    • A thyroid dysfunction
    • An autoimmune disorder, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis

    4. Can Dry Eye Resolve Itself?

    It really depends. If your dry eyes are caused by an external irritant or allergen, your symptoms will likely improve once the irritant is removed. Some people may only experience symptoms of dry eye syndrome in a dry climate, during allergy season, or after prolonged screen use (when people blink their eyes much less frequently), for example.

    5. Is DES Permanent?

    Although there are ways to manage and treat DES, it is considered a chronic condition. In many cases, symptoms may reappear if treatment stops. In other cases of DES, symptoms can be temporary, depending on the cause.

    6. Is DES Harmful to Eye Health?

    It can be. Severe dry eye syndrome can lead to corneal ulcers and scarring. In very rare cases, dry eye syndrome may produce partial blindness if left untreated.

    7. How is Dry Eye treated?

    There are several safe and effective treatments for dry eye syndrome. Treatment options will vary from patient to patient, depending on what’s causing your DES. Your optometrist will select the treatment that targets the underlying cause of your condition.

    You may be prescribed medicated eye drops, lubricating eye drops, omega-3 supplements or in-office treatments to clean and/or improve the functioning of the glands in your eyelids. Speak with your optometrist about which treatment option is most suitable for you.

    If you or a loved one is living with symptoms of dry eye syndrome, we can help. Giddens Optometry provides the latest, most effective treatments for dry eye syndrome for long-lasting relief.

    To schedule your dry eye consultation, call Giddens Optometry in Georgetown today!

    Our practice serves patients from Georgetown, Limehouse, Acton, and Halton Hills, Ontario and surrounding communities.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Ben Giddens

    Q: What are some lifestyle choices that can help ease symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

    • A: Some patients find that staying hydrated and eating more omega-3-rich foods help with DES. You may also benefit from wearing sunglasses when outdoors and using a humidifier when indoors to replenish the moisture in the air.

    Q: Should I use over-the-counter eye drops for my dry eyes?

    • A: There are so many eye drops at the pharmacy, so it can be hard to choose the perfect product for your eyes. If your eyes are feeling dry, head over to your local optometrist before resorting to an over-the-counter option.

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    a3ef93d0 34de 453f b5f4 5ffd895a5f85 (1)A Letter from Dr. Ben Giddens

    Hello friends, I have retired!

    I had 37 years of good fun in Georgetown and loved the gift of meeting so many warm and friendly people! I am very sorry that I didn’t have the time to chat with everyone about my exact plans, and felt guilty over that at times. It was not an easy task. If anyone wants, or needs to contact me, please send an email to my office and I will reply.

    I am 66 years old and still feel like I am in good health. My wife died of cancer in 2021 but I have good friends and family and a fun life. I recently moved back to Toronto which is where I grew up as a teenager. I have an active outdoor life and have many ski trips and travel plans in front of me. Lots of interests and activities to explore with an overriding sense that I am a lucky guy. I am also a grandfather now.

    I have always tried to employ staff and optometrists who have a heart. I think that is where the office is at today and I hope it continues. Everyone knows their work, and the heart matters.