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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.


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
            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.

      Dry Eyes? Learn How LipiFlow® Can Bring Relief

      Are you going through each day annoyed by the itchiness, stinging and redness of dry eyes, because nothing helps to soothe your sore vision? Revolutionary LipiFlow® can be your answer.

      To discover how this dry eye therapy works, book a specialized Dry Eye exam with our Sunnyvale eye doctor. We’ll assess your condition to identify the cause. If it’s meibomian gland dysfunction, we’ll introduce you to the LipiFlow® Thermal Pulsation System.

      How does LipiFlow® work?

      The LipiFlow® system has been clinically shown to be effective at relieving blockage of the meibomian glands. By applying warm heat and gentle pulsing pressure, LipiFlow® helps the body to restore normal production of lubricating tear film oils. Whereas moisturizing eye drops only help temporarily, LipiFlow® gets to the root of the problem — bringing lasting relief. Many of our Sunnyvale eye care patients report that their dry eye symptoms disappeared after the first treatment.

      What’s the LipiFlow® treatment process?

      The actual treatment with LipiFlow® takes about 12 minutes per eye, and both eyes can receive treatment at the same time.

      1. First, numbing eye drops will be placed in each eye, and we’ll clean any debris from your lash lines and the edges of your eyelids.
      2. The LipiFlow® eye piece will be placed gently into each eye; you’ll need to keep your eyes closed lightly throughout the treatment.
      3. You will feel warmth and mild pressure on your eyelids. There are two six-minute cycles consisting of warming, pulsation and pressure. Together, these phases help loosen and eliminate any clogs in your glands.

      LipiFlow® is virtually painless, and in most cases, maximum symptom relief occurs about two to four weeks after treatment – lasting for the next year and longer! A few weeks after your treatment, we’ll perform an evaluation to check the effects. LipiFlow® doesn’t just treat the symptoms, it solves the problem at the source.
      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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