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Can Dry Eye Syndrome Damage Your Vision If Left Untreated?

May 1, 2024

Are your eyes constantly dry, irritated, and red? Does it feel like there’s something stuck in your eye that just won’t come out? You may be dealing with dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome might seem like a minor annoyance, but if left untreated, it can have serious consequences for your eye health. In severe cases, dry eye may damage the surface of your eyes. Keep reading to learn more about the effects of dry eye on your vision.  

What is dry eye syndrome? 

Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes don’t produce enough tears, or your tears evaporate too quickly. This can lead to symptoms like redness, irritation, and a gritty feeling in your eyes. But beyond the discomfort, if left untreated, dry eye syndrome can damage your vision over time.  

1. Corneal damage 

The cornea, the clear, dome-shaped surface covering the front of your eye, relies on a consistent supply of tears to stay healthy and clear. Without enough lubrication, the cornea can become dry and develop tiny scratches or ulcers, leading to scarring. Corneal scarring can cause blurred vision and may require surgery to correct it. 

2. Increased risk of infection 

Your tears contain enzymes and proteins that help protect your eyes from bacteria and other harmful pathogens. When your eyes are dry, they become more susceptible to infections like conjunctivitis (pink eye) and keratitis (inflammation of the cornea). Infections can be painful and cause further damage to your eyes. 

3. Inflammation and swelling 

Chronic dry eye can cause persistent inflammation of the eye’s surface. This inflammation can damage the eye tissues, including the conjunctiva and the meibomian glands (which produce the oily layer of your tears). Inflammation can worsen symptoms and make treatment more challenging. 

How to manage dry eyes 

Fortunately, there are plenty of treatment options available for dry eye syndrome that can help relieve your symptoms and prevent any long-term damage to your vision. Our experienced eye doctor, Dr. Shannon Mitchell, specializes in dry eye care and can help you find the best treatment option for your specific case. He may recommend artificial tears to keep your eyes lubricated or prescribe medications to reduce inflammation. 

In more severe cases, Dr. Mitchell may suggest advanced treatments such as amniotic membranes and punctal plugs. Amniotic membranes are thin layers of tissue that can be placed on the surface of the eye to promote healing and reduce inflammation. Punctal plugs are tiny devices inserted into the tear ducts to help retain moisture on the surface of the eyes. These treatments can provide much-needed relief for patients suffering from chronic dry eye. 

In conclusion, yes, untreated dry eye syndrome can damage your vision over time. But with early intervention and proper management techniques, you can protect your eyes from any long-term harm. Remember, it’s important to consult with our dry eye specialist in Waitsfield if you’re experiencing persistent dry eye symptoms. He can help determine the underlying cause of your condition and recommend a personalized treatment plan that works best for you. Schedule an appointment online today at Mad River Eye Care in Waitsfield, and let us help you keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear! 

Medical Eye Care

Medical Eye Care

Dr. Mitchell has extensive experience diagnosing and treating acute and chronic eye health...