Look Out for Your Eyes Following Our Tips and With a Vision Care Plan

As we go about our daily lives, we often take our vision for granted. But for those who suffer from dry eye disease, something as simple as blinking can cause discomfort and irritation.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, this common condition affects approximately 20 million people in the United States, and that figure only continues to grow. But what even is dry eye in the first place? How do you know if you have it? And what can you do to treat it?

Keep reading to learn more about dry eye and how you can take better care of your vision.

Understanding Dry Eye

The glands above your eyes help keep them wet by producing tears. Dry eye occurs when these glands don’t make enough tears or when the tears dry up too quickly. This can lead to an itchy and even scratching sensation, like there’s something in your eye.

Dry eye can have several causes, including aging, hormonal changes, environmental factors, and certain medical conditions or medications. Additionally, risk factors, like spending long hours in front of a screen or wearing contact lenses, can increase your chances of developing the condition.

Symptoms of Dry Eye and How Vision Care Experts Diagnose It

Dry eye can manifest with a variety of symptoms, which can vary in severity from person to person. The most common symptoms are:

  • A gritty or sandy feeling in the eyes.
  • Redness.
  • Burning or stinging.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Eye fatigue.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to seek medical help from a professional who accepts your vision care plan to properly identify and treat your condition. While occasional dryness and discomfort may not be cause for concern, persistent or worsening symptoms could indicate a more significant issue that requires attention.

Your optometrist can help determine if you have dry eye disease during a comprehensive eye exam. They can perform a series of tests to confirm a diagnosis, which may include:

  • Slit lamp exam: During this assessment, a vision care provider will use a slit lamp microscope to check if your eyes make enough tears. After putting drops in your eyes, which make your tears easier to see, they’ll use the microscope to shine a thin, bright light and inspect your eyes and eyelids.
  • Schirmer’s test: For Schirmer’s test, an eye doctor will place a strip of medical paper on the edge of each of your eyelids. You’ll close your eyes for five minutes while the paper absorbs your tears. If, when the five minutes are up, your optometrist finds that your tears have traveled less than 15 millimeters, it’s likely you’re suffering from dry eye.
  • TBUT test: The tear break up time test measures how long it takes for tears to evaporate. A vision care professional will place a small amount of dye in your eye and have you blink a few times, so it’s fully covered. Keeping your eyes open, your doctor will then monitor how quickly the dye dissipates. A faster rate indicates you have dry eye.

Vision Care Solutions for Dry Eye

If you’re dealing with dry eye, there are multiple vision care solutions that can help alleviate your symptoms and improve your eye health, with artificial tears being among the most popular. These over-the-counter eye drops provide temporary relief by lubricating your eyes and adding back in elements that your tears naturally produce. There are prescription medications available as well that can help increase tear production and reduce inflammation.

In more severe cases of dry eye, a provider may recommend punctal plugs. Punctal plugs are tiny gel or silicone devices that are inserted into the tear ducts to help keep tears in your eyes longer. Your eye doctor could also suggest surgery that permanently closes your tear ducts.

It’s important to work closely with your optometrist to figure out the best vision care solutions for your specific needs. They can guide you through your options and offer expert advice on the most effective treatment plan.

Prioritize Your Eye Health with a Vision Care Plan

A vision care plan plays a pivotal role in your eye health journey. Vision care plans can help you control costs on routine eyewear and eye exams, and your doctor can then help you navigate your health care coverage for conditions like dry eye.

Not all vision care plans are created equally, though. Traditional insurance policies are difficult to understand and have limited protections. The best vision care plans help you get the care you need, while keeping more money in your pocket.

Even if you don’t have dry eye disease or other vision problems, it’s a good idea to still be enrolled in a plan you can utilize for regular eye exams. Like getting a physical from your primary care physician, seeing your eye doctor annually ensures you stay on top of any changes to your vision and catch any issues before they progress.

To find the best vision care plan, look for an insurance alternative making eye services more accessible and affordable. Having access to quality benefits allows you to take charge of your eye health and maintain clearer vision for years to come.for