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What Happens If You Don’t Treat Dry Eye Syndrome?

girl sitting in the pool 640×350Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a condition where your eyes either produce low-quality tears or don’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes hydrated. Sometimes the meibomian glands inside your eyelids, which produce the oily layer of your tears, don’t function properly or are blocked, causing your tears to dry out. Environmental factors, certain medical conditions and several medications can also cause DES.

Tears are essential for maintaining eye health and comfort. They moisten your eyes and remove debris. In severe cases, untreated dry eye syndrome can actually damage your cornea and cause vision loss.

The amount of dryness varies in severity from person to person. If you have a minor case of dry eye, you may be able to manage it with over-the-counter eye drops. However, if the problem persists or appears to be getting worse, it’s time to visit your eye doctor, who will assess your eyes, find the underlying problem and offer treatment for lasting relief.

Below is a list of complications that may occur if chronic dry eye syndrome isn’t treated:

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis refers to infected or inflamed conjunctiva — the clear layer of cells that covers the white part of your eyeball and the inner surface of your eyelids. Symptoms include grittiness, redness and sensitivity to light.

Keratitis

Keratitis refers to an inflammation of the cornea. It can be caused by different types of infections, abnormalities of the eyelids, injury and dry eye. If the deeper layers of the cornea are involved, scarring or a corneal ulcer may result, particularly if left untreated.

Corneal Ulcer

A corneal ulcer is an open sore that develops on the cornea—the clear, protective outer layer of your eyes.

While corneal ulcers typically develop following an injury, they can also be caused by severe dry eye.

On a daily basis, debris, like dirt and sand particles, enter your eyes and scratch the surface of the cornea. When your tear glands don’t produce enough tears to wash away the particles, bacteria can infect the scratch and cause an ulcer.

Luckily, corneal ulcers are easily treated with antibiotic eye drops. Left untreated, however, these ulcers can spread and scar the eyeball, causing partial or even complete blindness.

Inability to wear contact lenses

Unless your eyes produce enough good-quality tears, your contact lenses can become overly dry, leading to a gritty sensation, irritation and redness. Without sufficient moisture, your contacts may stick to your eyeball, making it difficult to remove them.

Though chronic dry eye syndrome may prevent you from wearing standard contact lenses, certain specialized contact lenses can improve ocular hydration and comfort.

Difficulty keeping your eyes open

Depending on the severity of dry eye, it may be difficult to keep your eyes open. This may occur if dry eye syndrome causes extreme light sensitivity or a chronic sensation that something is stuck in your eye.

While artificial tears may provide enough moisture to partially open your eyes, you may still feel the urge to squint, especially when exposed to a computer screen or sunlight.

Difficulty reading or driving

While blurred vision often signals that you need a stronger prescription, it’s also a common symptom of chronic dry eye syndrome.

Left untreated, the blurriness may worsen and even lead to double vision. Naturally, this makes driving and reading a real struggle.

Headaches

While there’s room for more research, studies have shown that there may be a connection between headaches and dry eye. A population-based case study of more than 72,000 patients published by JAMA Ophthalmology (2019) found that people who suffer from migraine headaches are more likely to have dry eyes compared to the general population.

It’s not clear why. According to the paper, being female and of advanced age play an important role in determining the strength of this association.

Depression

A 2015 study, published in the journal Cornea evaluated the connection between dry eye disease and depressive symptoms in more than 6,000 women. Researchers found that women diagnosed with dry eye had a higher likelihood of developing depressive moods, anxiety, and psychological stress.

While the connection isn’t fully understood, researchers noted that some medications for treating depression have a drying effect on the eyes, and that dry eye syndrome may limit a person’s participation in activities, to the point where they may become anxious, withdrawn and even depressed.

If you have dry eye, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with The Dry Eye Center of Southern Eyecare Associates in order to find the best treatment options and thus increase the quality of your tears and life.

The Dry Eye Center of Southern Eyecare Associates serves patients from Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake, Virginia and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. John Dragon

Q: How do I know if I have dry eye syndrome?

  • A: If you experience itchiness, light sensitivity, tearing and tired eyes, it could indicate that you have dry eye syndrome. Get your eyes checked by an eye doctor, who will thoroughly diagnose your symptoms and offer lasting treatment.

Q: What causes dry eye?

  • A: Various things can cause dry, itchy eyes. Some of the most common causes include blocked glands, environmental factors (wind, air pollution), infrequent blinking, certain medications, standard contact lenses and Demodex mites.


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Are Your Eyes Sensitive To Light? Consider Scleral Lenses!

Are Your Eyes Sensitive To Light 640×350For some people, standard soft contact lenses are a great way to conveniently correct vision. For those with very dry eyes or corneal conditions like keratoconus, standard contacts simply aren’t an option.

Scleral contact lenses, however, are a great alternative for these patients with hard-to-fit eyes. They provide several benefits, such as reducing sensitivity to light (photophobia).

What Does Light Sensitivity Feel Like?

Patients with keratoconus and other corneal conditions tend to experience discomfort or unclear vision in brightly lit environments, even after undergoing treatment for their conditions.

They may see halos around lights while driving or may not be able to drive at all due to the worsening or clouding of vision that comes with light sensitivity. Bright fluorescent lights, like in an office setting, can trigger eye pain and interfere with their productivity and creativity.

Moreover, a photophobic person may not be able to comfortably look at a computer screen or other digital device. Even with the brightness setting turned all the way down, the light that’s emitted from the screen may be too intense.

How Can I Reduce Light Sensitivity?

While implementing the following suggestions can ease your symptoms of light sensitivity, we recommend that you speak with your optometrist for a more personalized approach.

  • Try to stay out of the sun whenever possible, but when you do go outside, wear dark sunglasses to block out the light.
  • Consider installing filters on fluorescent light sources.
  • Take frequent breaks when using a digital device.
  • Reduce glare in your home by turning mirrors away from light sources and keeping windows clean and streak-free. You may want to consider removing reflective surfaces from your home altogether.
  • Speak with your optometrist about whether scleral contact lenses can help you.

What are Scleral Contact Lenses?

Scleral lenses are larger in diameter than standard lenses and rest on the white part of the eye (sclera). Their large surface area vaults over the entire cornea (the eye’s top layer), and thus avoid placing pressure on the sensitive corneal tissue.

The scleral lens holds a reservoir of nourishing fluid between the inside of the lens and the surface of the eye, providing visual clarity and optimal comfort. In fact, many patients report that they are able to wear scleral contacts for longer amounts of time as compared to standard contacts.

Scleral lenses are customized to fit each individual eye, and are suitable for patients with keratoconus, dry eye syndrome, irregular/excessive astigmatism, Sjorgen’s syndrome, other corneal abnormalities and for those having undergone LASIK surgery.

How Do Scleral Lenses Reduce Light Sensitivity?

Light sensitivity, or photophobia, is a common side effect of several eye conditions, such as dry eye syndrome and keratoconus. When the cornea is irregularly shaped, it doesn’t properly reflect light onto the retina, which can lead to light sensitivity.

Thanks to their unique and customized design, scleral lenses act as a new, accurately curved cornea that is able to reflect light in a healthy way. Because of their large diameter, scleral lenses are more stable and have a wider optic zone than other lenses. They offer a more accurate perception of peripheral vision and help minimize glare and sensitivity.

An irregularly shaped cornea is not the only reasons one experiences photophobia. In fact, there are several conditions that can cause it. Your optometrist will determine what’s causing your discomfort through a comprehensive eye exam and will determine whether scleral lenses are the optimal solution for you.

The Scleral Lenses and Keratoconus Center of Southern Eyecare Associates serves patients from Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and throughout Virginia.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. John Dragon

Q: How long does it take to adjust to scleral contact lenses?

  • A: Scleral lenses are usually very comfortable right off the bat, but some patients may find that it takes up to 10 days to get used to the lenses. Your optometrist will guide you on how to shorten the adjustment period.

Q: How long do scleral contact lenses last?

  • A: Under normal conditions, scleral lenses last between 1 and 3 years — far longer than standard lenses. Your tear film composition and your lens care habits will influence your lenses’ lifespan.
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Why Back to School Eye Exams Are Important

Since the start of COVID-19, many children have learned remotely at one point or another. While parents are anxious that their children not fall behind academically, eye professionals are concerned that undiagnosed visual problems will have an impact on the child’s performance during the coming school year.

A child’s capacity to learn can be harmed if visual problems go unnoticed. That is why, before the new school year begins, eye doctors strongly advise that children have a comprehensive eye exam.

While it may be tempting to depend on school-provided eye screenings, these superficial visual acuity tests can only detect a small fraction of vision problems. Only a comprehensive eye exam performed by an eye doctor can effectively diagnose and treat a variety of vision and eye health problems.

How Is Vision Affected By Online Learning?

The amount of time children spend staring at computer devices was already a concern before the covid pandemic, but the epidemic has further heightened these concerns. Children spent twice as much time on screens during COVID-related closures than they did before the pandemic, according to The Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.

For one thing, staring at a digital screen for long periods of time strains the eyes, making children and adults more prone to digital eye strain, one of the most common symptoms of computer vision syndrome. People who stare at a screen for two hours or longer are at an increased risk of developing this condition.

Digital eye strain symptoms may include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Eye fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Shoulder and neck pain

A combination of the following can trigger or contribute to symptoms:

  • Poor posture
  • Poor lighting
  • Screen brightness
  • Undetected vision problems
  • Excessive time looking at a screen
  • Glare and reflections from the screen

Aside from digital eye strain, multiple studies have revealed that children who spend a lot of time indoors performing ‘near work’ like writing, reading and staring at computers and other digital devices have a faster rate of myopia progression.

According to a study published in the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s professional magazine, Ophthalmology, 1st graders who spent at least 11 hours per week outside in the sunshine had a slower progression of myopia. Around the world, researchers are investigating whether some component of sunshine, or the fact that children who play outdoors look into the distance, play a role.

Why Are Eye Exams Important?

Since visual learning accounts for up to 80% of a child’s learning, even the tiniest vision problem can have a severe impact on their academic performance. By taking your child to their eye doctor once a year the optometrist can diagnose and treat refractive errors like myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, as well as check visual skills like convergence insufficiency, binocular vision, focusing, and more.

Comprehensive eye exams are the most effective way to detect both minor and major eye problems. Children with a family history of vision difficulties should get their eyes examined more frequently, or as directed by their eye doctor.

Regular eye exams are important for everyone in the family, but they’re especially important for individuals who spend a lot of time in front of a screen.

Don’t put off your child’s annual eye exam. Schedule an appointment with Southern Eyecare Associates in Norfolk today!

At Southern Eyecare Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 757-588-5423 or book an appointment online to see one of our Norfolk eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

5 Common Keratoconus Questions, Answered

This Contact Lens Can Actually Treat Dry Eye Syndrome!

Do You Struggle With Contact Lens Comfort? Scleral Lenses May Be the Answer!

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Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Theresa Batac

Q: At what age should I have my child’s eyes examined?

  • A: According to the American and Canadian Optometric associations, it’s recommended that a child undergo their first exam between 6-12 months of age. The second time is at age 3.Before a child starts school they should have their eyes examined, and every 1 to 2 years after that, based on their optometrist’s recommendation.

Q: If my child passes their school vision screening, do they need their eyes examined?

  • A: Yes! School vision screenings briefly examine the eyes to detect a handful of vision problems, such as myopia. They don’t look for visual impairments or other issues that could hinder your child’s academic progress.Your optometrist will evaluate your child’s eye health and vision, along with visual abilities, including eye-tracking and depth perception, to let you know whether your child’s eyes are ‘school-ready.’

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Bethesda, Maryland. Visit Southern Eyecare Associates for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

3 Reasons to Buy Eyeglasses from an Optical Store vs Online

Quality Eye Care in Norfolk

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping has grown in popularity. But when it comes to your eye health, nothing beats an in-person eye exam and fitting. While searching for specs online is a fantastic way to discover the current trends in eyewear, there are some key reasons you should buy your glasses from your local eye care shop.

Quality Eye Care in Norfolk

Accuracy

According to the American Optometric Association, 29% of glasses ordered online from the top 10 online retailers arrived with incorrect prescription lenses. Incorrect lenses make it impossible to see clearly and can induce headaches and eye strain. When you buy glasses at an optical store, you can be sure you’ll get the perfect prescription and fit, assuring clear vision and maximum comfort.

High Quality

Poor-quality frames may end up costing you more in the long run. While searching the web, frames may appear to be high-end but actually composed of low-grade materials. Frame materials that aren’t up to grade can limit their durability and irritate your skin. Furthermore, after a few months of use, the sun’s intense rays may even bleach the frames.

Personal Service and Continuity

Why do so many individuals return year after year to their neighborhood optical store? Because they receive excellent service from someone they can rely on. Doing so ensures continuity of treatment and the certainty that your doctor will examine your eyes to assess both your visual acuity and eye health.

Finally, by shopping locally, you are contributing to the strength of your community.

When considering where to buy your next pair of glasses, keep all of these criteria in mind. While the initial price difference between an online and in-person purchase may be enticing, it comes at a cost. Looking for a new pair of glasses? Contact Southern Eyecare Associates in Norfolk to receive the highest level of care and quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I make sure my glasses are adjusted to fit properly?

  • A: Most online stores will adjust them based on a standard fit, while brick-and-mortar eyewear retailers will adjust your glasses to fit your personal needs.

Q: How frequently should I replace my glasses?

  • A: If your prescription has changed, you should get a new pair. See your optometrist every year or two to maintain clear vision.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Southern Eyecare Associates for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


What To Do if a Mosquito Bites Your Eyelid

Many of us spend the warm weather outdoors, barbecuing, camping, hiking, swimming. Although the itchy mosquito bites are typically associated with summer, mosquitos can be relentless and be a major pest, in the spring and even into the fall.

Why do Mosquitoes Bite?

Mosquitoes are small flying insects, but they don’t actually “bite”. They pierce the skin to reach a person’s blood vessels to access a source of protein for the female’s eggs. Male mosquitoes do not consume blood.

While most mosquitoes are harmless, others may carry dangerous diseases, such as malaria, in certain parts of the world. In rare cases, mosquito bites can cause other complications.

What does a mosquito bite on the eyelid look like?

A mosquito bite on the eyelid typically causes redness and inflammation of the eyelid and the surrounding area.

Since the tissue around the eye is loose, fluid accumulation and inflammation following an insect bite is common. In severe cases, it can even inhibit the eye from opening, especially after lying down, as the fluid gravitates to that area.

The skin around the eye is sensitive, so the itching and discomfort from a bite on the eyelid may feel particularly intense. Rest assured that most of the time the itchiness lasts only a few days, but try to avoid rubbing your eyes as it can exacerbate the swelling and irritation.

Are Mosquito Bites on the Eyelid Dangerous?

Usually not, but they can cause severe itching and swelling.

Young children are at a higher risk for acute swelling from a mosquito bite, as they tend to have a stronger immune response than adults do. While your child’s eye may look concerning, the inflammation should naturally subside within a few days.

Signs of an infected mosquito bite

Although uncommon, there are instances when a mosquito bite can become infected and require medical attention. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • An eyelid that develops a deep red appearance
  • An eyelid that is hot and hard to the touch
  • Discharge from the eye
  • Intense pain around the eye
  • Swelling doesn’t subside after 2-3 days

Sometimes, if the bite becomes infected, the infection will spread to the second eye and symptoms will likely be apparent in both eyelids.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms or if your vision is affected by your swollen eyelid, contact us for an eye exam and to determine the best course of treatment. If the eyelid isn’t infected, the following home remedies may help.

Home Remedies to Reduce Eyelid Discomfort and Swelling

Try these tips to help relieve your discomfort and promote healing.

  1. Cold Compresses. Place a cold, wet compress on your eye for around 20 minutes, 2-3 times per day to reduce the swelling and numb the itchiness. Be sure that the compress is not too cold as it can damage the skin around your eye.
  2. Allergy Medicine. Take an antihistamine, either in liquid or tablet form, to reduce itching and inflammation. Be sure to read the directions on the bottle for proper dosage information.
  3. Eye Drops. Eye drops can help further reduce inflammation and provide additional relief, especially if your vision is being affected. Vasoconstrictor eye drops are generally recommended to reduce the swelling of the blood vessels in the eyes. These drops should be used sparingly as they can cause a rebound effect – making the eyes red once they heal. It’s best to consult with your eye doctor before using any eye drops, just to be sure.

Most mosquito bites will heal on their own without any need for additional treatment. However, the eyelid is a sensitive area and may require special care to speed up the healing process.

Experiencing symptoms of an infected mosquito bite on the eye? Have any questions or concerns about your eye health or vision? We’re here to help! Simply contact Southern Eyecare Associates in Norfolk and one of our professional eye care professionals will be happy to assist.

Q&A

What is an eye infection?

An eye infection is a condition in which viruses, bacteria or other microbial agents attack the eye, causing itchy and red eyes. The infection can also affect the eyelid, cornea, and conjunctiva (the thin area that covers the inside of the eyelids and outer part of the eye).

​​What are the typical symptoms of an eye infection?

Usually people with an eye infection experience at least one of the following:

Eye pain, persistent itching, grittiness, sensitivity to light, watery eyes, fluid discharge, blurred vision, irritation, swelling and dryness. These symptoms can often be confounded with dry eye disease. To determine the source of the issue and receive optimal treatment, contact Southern Eyecare Associates today.

5 Tips To Encourage Your Child To Keep Their Glasses On

Eye Doctor in Norfolk

Eye Doctor in Norfolk

If your child wears glasses, then you may be familiar with the struggle of trying to keep their glasses on. Whether their specs are constantly falling off, or they refuse to wear them in the first place, here are a few tips to help ensure that your child’s glasses remain where they belong: on their face!

1. Highlight Other Family Members Who Wear Glasses

Kids are sometimes apprehensive to try new things, especially things that seem foreign to them. That’s why it may be helpful to show them how common glasses are by pointing out other family members and friends who wear glasses. Once they view glasses as commonplace, they may be more accepting of wearing them.

2. Involve Them In Choosing Their Frames

Inviting your child to pick out their new frames will give them a sense of control and ownership. This will, in turn, lead them to want to wear their glasses. So next time you buy them glasses, select a few options and have them choose the pair they like most.

3. Compliment Their New Look

If your child chooses a frame style that isn’t your first choice, avoid showing any disappointment. A parent’s positive and encouraging attitude is crucial for kids who are resistant to wearing glasses.

Aside from discussing how glasses help people see, play up the style aspect of glasses to help your child love their new look.

4. Fix The Fit

If your child’s glasses are frequently sliding down their face, consider this:

A child’s nose bridge isn’t as developed as an adult’s, which means that glasses have a harder time staying in place on their small faces. Many types of children’s frames take this into account and have adjustable nose pads.

If you find that the fit still isn’t secure and comfortable, bring your child to Southern Eyecare Associates, where we’ll be happy to adjust the glasses to perfectly fit their face.

5. Consider Using a Band or Other Anti-Slip Product

Slipping glasses is all too common with children, which is why companies have created products to secure children’s glasses. Ask your local optician about bands that attach to the temples, or anti-slip nose grips.

Adjusting to new glasses can take time, and that’s okay. With a positive attitude and a healthy dose of patience, parents can use these tips to help ease their child’s transition to wearing glasses.

If your child is having trouble with their glasses or experiencing any other vision-related issue, we can help. To schedule an appointment and learn about what we offer, contact Southern Eyecare Associates in Norfolk today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How often do children need to have their eyes examined?

  • A: Typically, a child’s first eye exam should be around 6 months of age. The next comprehensive eye exam should be between ages 3-5, and before first grade, and then annually thereafter. A child’s vision can change quickly, so don’t skip your child’s next eye exam!

Q: How can I tell if my child needs new glasses?

  • A: Signs that your child needs new specs may include: blurred vision, eye fatigue, headaches or squinting. It’s also advisable to get your child a second pair of glasses as a backup. The best way to know whether your child needs new glasses is through a comprehensive eye exam.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Southern Eyecare Associates for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


Do You Struggle With Contact Lens Comfort? Scleral Lenses May Be the Answer!

boy wearing a gray hoodie 640Most people are familiar with traditional soft lenses, which provide clear vision for those who are nearsighted or farsighted.

In certain cases, particularly for those with corneal irregularities or astigmatism, standard gas permeable (GP) lenses may be recommended. However, people with several eye conditions can’t tolerate standard GPs and find scleral lenses a much better, more comfortable alternative.

What are Scleral Lenses?

Patients with sensitive eyes or corneal abnormalities may benefit from custom-designed scleral lenses, which provide crisp vision and comfort thanks to their unique design.

Scleral lenses are usually recommended for those with keratoconus, severe dry eye syndrome, astigmatism or anyone who find it difficult or impossible to wear standard contact lenses.

Scleral lenses are large gas permeable lenses that vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, the white part of the eye, instead of the cornea. This creates a new optical surface and prevents corneal irritation. Furthermore, a reservoir of pure saline solution between the back surface of the lens and the front of the cornea keeps the eye hydrated all day long.

Benefits of Wearing Scleral Lenses

Scleral lenses provide comfort, visual acuity and stability.

Stable Vision

With scleral lenses, you’ll experience continual clear vision. Because of their wide diameter, the lenses remain centered on your eye. Even if you play sports or lead an extremely active lifestyle, scleral lenses will stay in place and won’t easily pop out.

Long-Lasting Lenses

These gas permeable lenses are made of high-quality long-lasting materials. As a result, scleral lenses usually last between 1-2 years. While the initial cost of scleral lenses is higher than the cost of regular contacts, they give you more bang for your buck.

Safe and Easy-to-Use

Scleral lenses are easier to insert and remove from your eyes than regular GP lenses, thanks to their large size and rigid material. This also limits the risk of damaging your cornea while handling your lenses.

Comfort for Dry Eyes

It’s not uncommon for certain contact lens wearers to suffer from eyes that feel dry, red, itchy, uncomfortable, and at times very painful. Eye drops and artificial tears can deliver relief, but they are no more than a temporary solution.

One of the best contact lenses for optimal comfort and hydration are scleral lenses, as they simultaneously provide vision correction, protect the eyes, and lubricate them.

If you’ve experienced discomfort while wearing regular contact lenses, you may have keratoconus, irregular corneas, dry eyes or hard-to-fit eyes. Find out whether custom-designed scleral lenses are right for you by scheduling an eye exam at Dr. John Dragon today!

The Scleral Lenses and Keratoconus Center of Southern Eyecare Associates serves patients from Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake, Virginia and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. John Dragon

Q: Can you sleep with scleral lenses?

  • A: It’s not recommended to wear scleral lenses while you sleep. Sleeping with your scleral lenses on can cause the tear layer behind the lens to become stagnant, thus increasing the risk of eye infections.

Q: Are scleral lenses more comfortable than standard gas permeable lenses?

  • A: Scleral lenses provide clear vision and long-term comfort for those with irregularly shaped corneas. This is due to their unique design that covers a wider area of the eye while avoiding direct contact with the cornea.

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Call Us 757-588-5423

What’s a Chalazion?

What is a Chalazion 640Finding a lump on your eyelid can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Luckily, a chalazion isn’t a serious condition and is rather simple to resolve.

In most cases, a chalazion can easily be treated and will completely disappear following treatment. However, if non-invasive treatments don’t work, your eye doctor may need to remove it through an in-office surgical procedure.

At The Dry Eye Center of Southern Eyecare Associates we can diagnose and help treat your chalazion so that you can see comfortably.

What is a Chalazion?

A chalazion, also known as a meibomian cyst, is a small fluid-filled cyst.

Eyelids contain meibomian glands, which produce oil to lubricate the surface of the eye. When one of these glands becomes blocked, it may cause swelling and lead to a small painless lump called a chalazion.

What Causes a Chalazion?

A chalazion occurs when the gland in the eyelid is clogged. Exactly why the gland becomes clogged isn’t known, but some individuals appear to be more susceptible to developing a chalazion than others.

A chalazion may be associated with dry eye syndrome, which is often caused by meibomian gland dysfunction.

People exhibiting certain risk factors are more likely to develop a chalazion. This includes people who have:

  • Blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids
  • Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye
  • Thicker oil or meibum than normal consistency
  • Ocular rosacea, a skin condition adjacent to the eyes
  • Seborrhea, or dandruff, of the eyelashes
  • Styes or a history of styes

What Are the Symptoms of a Chalazion?

Common symptoms of a chalazion include:

  • A bump on the eyelid that sometimes becomes swollen and red
  • An entirely swollen eyelid, although very rare
  • Vision issues (such as blurred vision) if the chalazion becomes large enough to press on the eyeball

While a chalazion is not an infection, it may become infected. In the rare event that this occurs, it may become red, more severely swollen, and painful.

Chalazia are often mistaken for styes since they have a similar appearance.

What’s the Difference Between a Chalazion and a Stye?

It can be difficult to differentiate a chalazion from a stye.

Styes develop along the edge of your eyelid and can at times be seen at the base of an eyelash. In contrast, chalazia usually occur closer to the middle of the eyelid. A stye is more likely to be painful and tends to have a yellowish spot at the center that may burst after a few days.

Basically, the most noticeable difference between a chalazion and a stye is that a chalazion tends to be painless while a stye is usually painful and may cause the eye to feel sore, itchy or scratchy.

How to Treat a Chalazion

Most chalazia require minimal medical treatment and some may even clear up on their own in a few weeks to a month. When a chalazion first appears, you can try doing the following for 1-2 days:

  • Apply a warm compress to the eyelid for 10 to 15 minutes, 4 to 6 times a day. The warm compress helps soften the hardened oil that blocks the ducts, allowing drainage and healing.
  • Gently massage the external eyelids for several minutes each day to help promote drainage.

If the chalazion does not drain and heal within a few days, contact your eye doctor. Don’t attempt to squeeze or pop the chalazion, as it may inadvertently cause more damage.

To learn more about chalazion treatment and the other eye care services we offer, call The Dry Eye Center of Southern Eyecare Associates to schedule an appointment.

The Dry Eye Center of Southern Eyecare Associates serves patients from Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake, Virginia and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. John Dragon

Q: Can a chalazion spread from one person to another?

  • A: Since a chalazion is not an infection, it cannot spread from one person to another or even to the other eye of the affected person.

Q: Can a chalazion affect my eyesight?

  • A: A chalazion doesn’t affect vision. In rare cases, if the lump is large enough to distort the ocular surface it can cause temporary astigmatism, blurring vision. However, vision will return to normal once a medical professional removes the chalazion or once it diminishes in size.


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Call Us 757-588-5423

Risk Of Overusing Eye Drops

If you find yourself constantly reaching for eye drops, it’s time to start looking into the bigger issue: Why do you need them so often? While they may provide a quick and satisfying fix for irritated or itchy eyes, they don’t focus on what might be causing the irritation to begin with.

Two signs that you’re overusing eye drops: you often exceed the daily recommended dose and/or you view eye drops as a cure rather than a temporary treatment.

Risks of Overusing Eye Drops

When overusing eye drops you can run the risk of:

  • Washing away your natural tears. Artificial tears feel great as they lubricate your eyes and help with insufficient tear production. But overuse can literally wash away the natural moisturizers and your natural tears that protect your eyes.
  • Rebounding. As the effects of the eye drops subside or upon discontinuation of the drops, the original eye symptoms may return stronger than before. This is known as eye rebounding. Eye drops clamp down on the blood vessels in the eye to stop itchiness, which means your sclera isn’t getting the oxygen and nutrients it needs. When you stop using eye drops, or their effects wear off, your eyes may work in overdrive to deliver oxygen to those vessels.
  • Masking a more serious problem. Addressing the symptoms of red, itchy eyes rather than the cause could be more serious than you think.

Conditions That Eye Drops Could Be Masking

Red, itchy eyes are a symptom of several conditions, including:

  • Blepharitis – Red and inflamed eyelids, caused by a fungal or bacterial infection, gland dysfunction, parasites, or dry eye, all of which require treatment beyond over-the-counter eye drops.
  • Eye trauma – Scratching or rubbing your eye can cause blood vessels to break, making the eye itchy and red. Some more serious traumas will require prescription eye drops or surgery.
  • Eye strain – Focusing on work all day and night can cause irritated, tired, and strained eyes.
  • Foreign objects – An eyelash, dust, or something worse could be in your eye. If you have long-term issues with itchy or dry eyes, make sure a foreign body isn’t the culprit.
  • Allergies – Allergies to the environment or pets can cause dry, itchy eyes.
  • Pink eye – A bacterial or viral eye infection, also called conjunctivitis, can cause burning, swelling, and itchiness.
  • Dry eye syndrome – Irritation, redness and itchiness are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome. In severe cases, DES can damage the cornea.

Regardless of why you often use eye drops, the only way to get to the root cause of your symptoms is a thorough eye exam. Don’t cover up the symptoms with eye drops.

If you’re suffering from irritated, dry eyes that haven’t resolved on their own, contact Southern Eyecare Associates in Norfolk. We can help you find the long-lasting relief you’ve been looking for.

At Southern Eyecare Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 757-588-5423 or book an appointment online to see one of our Norfolk eye doctors.

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Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. John Dragon

Q: What are symptoms of dry eye syndrome ?

  • A: Irritation, redness and itchiness are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome. In severe cases, DES can damage the cornea.

Q: Are OTC eye drops safe ?

  • A: Eye drops may provide relief. But don’t overuse them. Overuse can cause more harm than good. Find out what happens when you overuse those relieving eye drops.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Norfolk, Virginia. Visit Southern Eyecare Associates for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Can People With Dry Eye Syndrome Wear Eye Makeup?

Eye Makeup 640×350If your eyes feel dry and irritated after wearing eyeliner—you aren’t alone. Many patients report symptoms of dry eye syndrome after rocking a smoky eye look, especially for extended periods of time.

The good news is those makeup lovers who have dry eye syndrome can continue to put their best face forward with the guidance of their dry eye optometrist.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic lack of ocular hydration that can be caused by several factors, including genetics, environmental irritants, allergies, certain medical conditions, specific medications and hormonal fluctuations.

Symptoms of DES may include:

  • Burning eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Mucus around the eyes
  • Discomfort while wearing contact lenses
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Eyes that ache or feel heavy

DES treatment depends on the underlying cause of the problem. Your dry eye optometrist will thoroughly evaluate your eyes to find and treat the source of your symptoms.

Can Eyeliner and Other Eye Makeup Cause Dry Eyes?

Our eyes are lined with tiny glands, known as meibomian glands, at the edge of both the upper and lower eyelids that secrete nourishing oils into our tears to help prevent premature tear evaporation. Any blockages or irritation in these glands can lead to meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), a leading cause of dry eye symptoms.

A recent study published in The Journal of Cornea and External Disease found that the regular use of eyeliner can cause the tear film to become unstable as the eyeliner can clog these small meibomian glands.

An important measurement, known as tear film breakup time, was much lower in the eyeliner-wearing group in the study, indicating that their tears evaporated more quickly. The same group also had reduced meibomian gland function and more symptoms of MGD.

The good news is that you can still wear eyeliner and other eye makeup products, despite having dry eyes. Here’s how:

Tips for Safely Wearing Eyeliner With Dry Eyes

  1. Only use eye makeup products that are intended for use around the eye area.
  2. Keep your makeup and applicators clean. Sharpen your eyeliner pencil and clean your brushes before each use to avoid contamination.
  3. Replace your eye makeup as often as recommended by the manufacturer.
  4. Never share your makeup with friends or family members.
  5. Avoid liners or shadows with glitter, as the particles can easily disrupt your tear film.
  6. Try to stick to cream-based products for the least amount of irritation.
  7. Apply eye makeup to the outside of your eyelashes. Lining the inner rim of your eyelids can clog or irritate the meibomian glands.
  8. Be diligent about eye hygiene. Always thoroughly wash your face and eyes before bed with eye-safe cleaning products.
  9. Visit your dry eye optometrist!

Our Dry Eye Optometrist Can Help

At The Dry Eye Center of Southern Eyecare Associates, we know that our patients want to look and feel their best. That’s why we tailor your dry eye treatment to suit your lifestyle and needs.

If you or a loved one suffers from symptoms of DES to any degree, we can help. Our optometric team will determine the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms and offer the relief you seek.

To schedule a dry eye consultation, comtact The Dry Eye Center of Southern Eyecare Associates today!

The Dry Eye Center of Southern Eyecare Associates serves patients from Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, Virginia and surrounding communities.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. John Dragon

Q: Are there any vitamins I can take to prevent or relieve dry eye disease?

  • A: Yes, certain foods help the eyes stay properly hydrated. Specific vitamins, fatty acids and trace elements are good not only for our overall health but also for our tear film. These include Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamins A, B, C, E, as well as Lutein and Zeaxanthin.

Q: Is dry eye syndrome dangerous for eye health?

  • A: When chronic dry eye isn’t treated, several eye conditions can occur: pink eye (conjunctivitis), keratitis (corneal inflammation) and corneal ulcers. DES can also make it difficult or impossible to wear contact lenses, cause difficulty with reading and trigger headaches.

 

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