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Is There A Connection Between Dry Eyes and Floaters?

Many people who have floaters also have dry eye syndrome, but are the two related?

Probably not. Floaters often emerge as a result of natural aging-related changes in the eyes, while dry eye syndrome is caused by poor tear quality or a lack of tear production. Medical conditions, allergies and dry air can all play a role.

What Are Floaters and It’s Symptoms?

Floaters are tiny specks that appear to float or swim in front of a person’s eyes. Most floaters are harmless, but the sudden onset of many floaters, often accompanied by flashes of light, is usually a sign of an eye emergency.

Symptoms of floaters include:

  • small shapes in the field of vision in one or both eyes that come and go
  • shapes that may appear as strands, spots or cobweb-like lines
  • small specks or shapes that move as the eyes are moving, or not moving
  • specks that become more evident when looking at something bright, such as the sky or white paper

What Is Dry Eye Syndrome and Its Symptoms?

Dry eye syndrome occurs if the eyes have poor quality tears or there aren’t enough tears to keep the eyes adequately lubricated. It frequently causes irritation, redness and, if left untreated, can damage the cornea.

Symptoms of dry eyes include:

  • blurry or fluctuating vision
  • excessive watering
  • irritation
  • redness of the whites of the eyes
  • scratchy or gritty feeling in the eye
  • sensitivity to light
  • stinging or burning sensation
  • strings of mucus in the eye

Are Floaters and Dry Eye Syndrome Connected?

There doesn’t seem to be a connection between dry eyes and floaters.

Floaters are usually part of the natural aging process. The vitreous, a gel-like substance, fills the center of the eye. Vitreous strands can clump together or get thicker as people age. The retina, which is the light-sensitive portion of the eye, is shadowed by these strands. Floaters emerge as shadows.

Dry eyes can occur as a result of poor tear quality or a lack of tear production. Dry eyes and floaters have some of the same risk factors, according to the American Optometric Association and the National Eye Institute, such as older age and diabetes. Diabetics have a higher risk of developing sight-threatening eye problems.

Both dry eye syndrome and floaters warrant a visit to your eye doctor. If you suffer from dry eyes or notice any floaters in your vision, contact Silicon Valley Eye Physicians in Sunnyvale.

At Silicon Valley Eye Physicians, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 408-739-6200 or book an appointment online to see one of our Sunnyvale eye doctors.

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Can floaters be treated?

People who develop floaters as they become older do not need treatment unless the floaters are interfering with their daily lives or causing visual problems. Vitrectomy surgery can minimize or eliminate floaters.

How is dry eye treated?

Dry eye treatment focuses on increasing tear production or maintaining tears in the eyes for extended periods of time. Depending on the cause and severity of your dry eye symptoms, your optometrist may recommend over-the-counter or prescription eye drops, special contact lenses, unblocking your eye’s oil glands or another treatment option.

What Eye Drops Are Best For My Eyes?

Are you suffering from red, irritated and scratchy eyes? Do you feel like you have something stuck in your eyes? These are hallmark symptoms of dry eye syndrome, a condition that occurs when your eyes are not properly lubricated due to insufficient tear production, blocked glands, or unbalanced tear composition.

The symptoms can be so unpleasant that many rush to the nearest pharmacy to find the perfect eye drops that will offer them the relief they need so that they can get back to focusing on other things.

However, seeking the ideal artificial tears to relieve dry eyes can be a daunting process. The eye drops shelf at the drug store offers so many options that it’s hard to know which ones are right for you. What’s more, some can actually make your symptoms worse.

Not all eye drops are created equal—currently, there are 6 main categories of artificial tears available over the counter. Choosing the artificial tears based on your specific needs can help narrow your options.

The 6 Types of Eye Drops / Artificial Tears

Preserved Artificial Tears

Preserved artificial tears contain added preservatives to maintain a very long shelf and keep bacteria at bay once the bottle is opened. Unfortunately, it also causes inflammatory dry eye disease, meibomian gland dysfunction and an allergic reaction in those who are sensitive, leading to redness, irritation and inflammation. While these drops may offer temporary relief, long term they can do more harm than good. Moreover, the preservatives may leave residue on contact lenses.

Preservative-Free Artificial Tears

Preservative-free artificial tears are great for contact lens wearers as they don’t cause any preservative build-up on the lenses. They are also suitable for those with sensitive eyes since they contain fewer ingredients that can cause irritation.

Preservative-free eye drops typically come in a box of 28 to 30 small vials that fit in a pocket or purse.

To use these drops, just pop the top off and insert the drops into your eyes. Some of these vials can be re-capped to allow you to continue to use the vial for up to 24 hours, but not longer. Refrigerate opened vials between uses to prevent any bacterial growth.

Oil-Based Artificial Tears

Oil-based tears come in preserved and preservative-free versions. These are thicker than traditional eye drops, as they contain an oil-based formulation. The oil helps prevent the watery portion of the tears from evaporating too quickly.

If you suffer from moderate or severe dry eye, oil-based artificial tears may be a great option. However, they’re not recommended for contact lens wearers, as the oils may stick to the surface of the lenses, making it difficult to keep them clean.

Eye Drop Spray or Mist

These sprays are preservative-free and are used to relieve dryness and irritation in both the eyes and eyelids. They’re easy to use, especially for those who struggle to insert drops into their eyes.

To use the spray, just close your eyes and spray onto your closed eyelids. Once you blink, the tears will slide into your eyes.

Don’t use the spray if you’re wearing makeup, lotions, or creams on your eyelids, as it can cause the makeup or lotion to enter your eye.

Artificial Tear Gel

Artificial tear gel adds a thick coating of tears and can be used at any time of the day or night. However, the thicker consistency of the gel drop may blur your vision for several minutes.

The gel is applied in the same way as eye drops. It effectively soothes the eyes and provides extended relief for both moderate to severe dry eye.

Most artificial tear gels contain preservatives, so they can only be used up to 4 times a day, and usually they are not safe for contact lens wearers.

Artificial Tear Ointment

Dry eye ointments are thick and coat the front of your eye. They’re usually used 1 to 2 times daily as needed. It may be best to use them at bedtime, as it will blur your vision.

Get Dry Eye Relief Today!

Artificial tears may be a good way to temporarily relieve eye dryness. However, using the wrong type of eye drops can be worse than not using any drops at all. So be sure to consult your eye doctor before you get eye drops.

Keep in mind that eye drops don’t address the root cause of dry eyes; they just provide temporary respite from the uncomfortable dry eye symptoms. Only an eye doctor can examine your eyes to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and recommend the best treatment for your unique case of dry eye.

Schedule an appointment with Silicon Valley Eye Physicians in Sunnyvale to learn more about dry eye syndrome and to find out which treatment is best for you.

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with David Mark MD

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

    • A: Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes either produce low-quality tears or don’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes hydrated. This may be due to certain diseases (like diabetes or other autoimmune diseases), aging, allergies, hormonal changes, smoking, poor air quality, medications and the environment.

    Q: What are the symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

          • A: Dry eye syndrome can cause a wide range of symptoms including:Itchy eyes
            A feeling that there is grit or debris in the eye
            Blurred vision
            Burning sensation
            Dryness
            Irritation
            Sensitivity to light and glare

      Q: Artificial Tears

                • A: Artificial tears are drops used to lubricate dry eyes. These drops help maintain moisture on the surface of your eyes. Artificial tears are available without a prescription from your optometrist. There is no one brand works best for every form of dry eyes. Aside lubricating the surface of your eyes, artificial tears can also promote healing of the eyes. Additionally, some types of drops work to decrease the evaporation of tears from the surface of your eyes. Artificial tears may also contain thickening agents, which keep the solution on the surface of your eyes longer.

      Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Sunnyvale, California. Visit Silicon Valley Eye Physicians for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

      3 Reasons Women Are More Likely Than Men To Develop Dry Eye

      3 Reasons Women Are More Likely Than Men To Develop Dry Eye 640Did you know that women are more likely than men to experience symptoms of dry eye syndrome (DES)? In fact, women represent about 6 out of 10 diagnosed cases of DES worldwide. This is due to several factors, 3 of which we’ll outline below.

      If you aren’t familiar with DES, this eye condition refers to a chronic lack of ocular moisture that causes uncomfortable symptoms like red, burning, itchy, watery eyes. Left untreated, DES can damage the cornea.

      Usually, DES is caused by insufficient tears or poor quality tears, but can also be precipitated by allergies, environmental factors, hormones and even certain medications. If you or anyone in your family suffers from DES, speak with Our Dry Eye Experts at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians, who can help ease your dry eye symptoms

      3 Reasons Why Women Are Prone to Dry Eye Syndrome

      1. Cosmetic Use

      Makeup, skincare items, and hair styling products can all drastically effect onyour eyes. Women who wear makeup—especially eye makeup like mascara and eyeliner—are more likely to develop dry eye symptoms due to their sometimes irritating contents. Makeup and other cosmetics may include chemicals that, when in contact with the eye, can reduce the eye’s tear film and cause tears to evaporate too quickly.

      Eyeliner and mascara may also block the tiny oil-secreting glands on the margins of the eyelids. Oil is an essential component of tears, as it reduces eye-eyelid friction and lessens tear evaporation.

      We aren’t telling you to ditch your glam kit and go au naturel, but when you do wear makeup, make sure to give your eyes some extra TLC. Try to avoid applying makeup to the inner portion of the lash line, where it can clog your oil glands or irritate your eyes. And make sure to thoroughly remove your eye makeup before going to sleep, as sleeping with eye makeup can also lead to eye irritation and even infection.

      2. Hormonal Changes

      From puberty to pregnancy and menopause, women’s hormones are constantly changing. All those surges and dips in estrogen can affect your eyes, especially when it comes to dry eye syndrome. Some women even experience dry eyes at certain times of the month, when estrogen levels rise.

      Women also produce androgens, also known as “male hormones,” which affect the quality of the tear film. In fact, both men and women who have low androgens may suffer from DES.

      Women over the age of 50 who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are at a heightened risk of developing dry eye symptoms. About 4 out of 10 post-menopausal women in North America use HRT to manage symptoms of menopause. Women increase their chances of developing DES by 70% when using estrogen alone for HRT, and by 29% when estrogen and progesterone are used together, compared to women who don’t use HRT.

      3. Certain Medications

      Because women are more likely than men to take both prescription and over-the-counter medications, they are also more prone to experience adverse effects from those medications. The common medications that often cause or exacerbate symptoms of DES include:

      • Antihistamines
      • Corticosteroids
      • Antidepressants
      • Antipsychotics
      • Acne medications
      • Sleeping pills
      • Birth control pills
      • Blood pressure medications

      DES can be uncomfortable at the very least, and debilitating at its worst. The good news is that you can get the relief you seek! At Silicon Valley Eye Physicians, we provide long-lasting relief to patients suffering from dry eye syndrome by targeting the root of the problem.

      If you or a loved one is suffering from dry eyes, call Silicon Valley Eye Physicians today.

      Silicon Valley Eye Physicians provides dry eye relief to patients from Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Mountain View, Cupertino, and throughout California.

       

      Frequently Asked Questions with Our Dry Eye Doctor in Sunnyvale

      Q: Can I treat my dry eye symptoms at home?

      • A: While there are over-the-counter options available at your local drugstore, you should seek treatment from a dry eye optometrist for the most effective and long-lasting results. Generic dry eye remedies may not target the underlying source of your specific problem.

      Q: Can women with dry eye syndrome still wear eye makeup?

      • A: Women with moderate-to-severe DES may find conventional makeup irritating. Try choosing makeup that is hypoallergenic, cream-based (instead of powder), and has a low water content. Thorough makeup removal is crucial for everyone— all the more so for those suffering from DES. So make sure you remove every bit of eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara before bed.


       

      Request A Dry Eye Appointment
      Do You Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 408-739-6200

      My Eyes Feel Gritty. Is It Dry Eye?

      something in my eyeWhen your eyes feel gritty it’s often due to an eyelash, a speck of dust, or a grain of sand getting caught in your eye. When this discomfort persists without an apparent reason, you could be experiencing dry eye.

      Left untreated, dry eye isn’t just uncomfortable, but it can permanently damage your cornea. If you have dry eye, your eye doctor will prescribe the appropriate treatment to keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear.

      What is Dry Eye?

      Dry eye is a common problem caused either by insufficient tears or poor tear quality. Every time you blink, you leave a thin film of tears over the surface of your eyes. This helps keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear. If your tears don’t keep the surface of your eye moist enough, you will experience dry eye.

      Symptoms of dry eye include:

      • Irritation- a gritty, scratchy or burning sensation
      • Blurred vision
      • Excessive tearing
      • A feeling of something being stuck in the eye

      Causes of Dry Eye

      There are many things that can cause dry eye:

      • Allergies
      • Medical conditions – Dry eye is more common in people with rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid problems, Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes and several other conditions.
      • Environmental factors – Wind, smoke, and dry air can all cause your tears to evaporate.
      • Insufficient blinking – staring at a computer screen or a book for long periods of time can cause the eyes to blink less frequently.
      • Medications – Antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, and decongestants can cause a reduction in tear production.
      • Ageing – As people get older they are more prone to dry eye. Women tend to be more affected than men.
      • Eyelid Conditions – Insufficient oil production from the glands in the eyelids or misshapen eyelids can lead to poor tear quality.
      • Hormonal changes

      Relief from Dry Eye

      As with any other form of eye discomfort, your first stop should be your eye doctor, who will thoroughly examine your eyes and eyelids to identify the underlying problem. If dry eye is suspected, your doctor may decide to assess the quality and quantity of your tears.

      Depending on the exact cause of your dry eye, your doctor may prescribe artificial tears or prescription eye drops, or discuss a range of in-office procedures to address moderate to severe dry eye caused by your eyelids. Your eye doctor may also recommend wrap-around glasses to protect your eyes against irritants. Blinking more regularly, staying hydrated, and placing a humidifier in your home or office might also help.

      After your initial appointment, you will want to schedule a follow-up appointment to make sure the methods you have tried are working and to prevent the progression to advanced dry eye. Advanced dry eye can cause damage to your cornea and, potentially, vision loss.


      If you are experiencing eye discomfort, visit Silicon Valley Eye Physicians to have your eyes examined and receive effective, lasting treatment.

      Silicon Valley Eye Physicians serves patients from Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Mountain View, and Cupertino, all throughout California.

      Request A Dry Eye Appointment
      Do You Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 408-739-6200
      Frequently Asked Questions with Silicon Valley Eye Physicians

      Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

      • A: Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

      Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

      • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

      Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Sunnyvale, California. Visit Silicon Valley Eye Physicians for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

      When Does Dry Eye Disease Become a Problem?

      It used to be dry eye disease (DED) was only regarded as a medical problem when the patient was female and over 40 years old. Other high risk populations included contact lens wearers and people taking specific medications. Not long ago, people who spend prolonged periods using a computer joined the list of those-at-risk of dry eye syndrome.

      Now, we’re facing a whole new reality. In today’s world, almost everyone – from school-aged kids and up – has suffered from some degree of dry eye at some point. In fact, many people believe that red, irritated eyes are the normal, inevitable effects of computer use.

      Dry Eye Can Be Prevented

      It’s time to debunk the myth that dry eye is unavoidable. When a patient visits their eye doctor, the following issues should be discussed:

      • How many hours a day do you use digital devices?
      • How many monitors do you have? At what angle should monitors be positioned from the face?
      • How long does it take before you feel your contact lenses most days?
      • What medications do you take?
      • Do you have fans installed at home or near your desk at work?

      Once the eye doctor better understands you and your lifestyle, the easier it is to intervene, prevent and treat dry eye symptoms. For example, eye doctors can advise you on optimizing the following:

      • Environment: You need an eye health and vision-friendly setting at home, school and work.
      • Diet: We are what we eat, and that includes the eyes! There are many vitamins that benefit the tear film and help prevent high-energy visible light from damaging delicate eye tissues.
      • Hygiene: Regular cleansing of eyelids and responsible makeup removal can help you avoid dry eye disease.
      • Eye exams: Everyone should visit an eye care provider yearly for comprehensive eye exams.

      Dry eye disease can strike at any age. When left untreated, it can lead to even more serious problems in the future. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to help prevent, treat and alleviate this painful condition.

      At Silicon Valley Eye Physicians, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 408-739-6200 or book an appointment online to see one of our Sunnyvale eye doctors.

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