Eye infection appointments in Bend, OR

If you think you may have an eye infection, book an appointment today with a top-reviewed doctor for in-person or virtual care in Bend, OR at affordable cash prices. No insurance needed.

What kind of appointment should I book for an eye infection?

Even though eye infections can be uncomfortable (in more ways than one), they are usually very treatable. Common types of eye infections include pink eye (conjunctivitis), blepharitis, keratitis, and styes. These infections can cause red and watery eyes, swelling, and vision problems.

Don't wait to get your symptoms looked at. If you're unsure what kind of eye infection you have, book a general telehealth visit to address your symptoms. If in-person visits are available in your area, book an in-person visit to see a doctor or provider in person. No matter the type of visit you book, you may be eligible for $5 meds with free delivery. To book a doctor that can prescribe you the most affordable medication, look the $5 meds tab.

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Patrick Curry, NP

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Dawn Drewes, APRN

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Tod Work, NP

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Traci Lambert, NP

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LaMonica Hodges, NP

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Andrea Abbott, FNP

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Dr. Kenneth Akey, MD

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    About eye infection

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    An eye infection is an infection of any part of the eye or the tissue immediately surrounding it. Eye infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungus. Common risk factors include allergens or irritants, contact lenses (especially when they’re worn for a long time or haven’t been cleaned properly), exposure to another person with an eye infection, contracting the common cold, scrapes or other injuries, and sharing makeup or other personal care items.

    Symptoms of an eye infection include:

    • Eye pain
    • Discharge from the eye
    • Watery eyes
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Itchiness
    • Crusting around the edge of the eyes
    • Redness, soreness, and or swelling
    • A gritty feeling in your eye

    Many eye infections will begin to go away after several days. In some cases, however, eye infections can cause permanent damage to your eyesight and jeopardize your health. Additionally, symptoms of anaphylaxis, a serious and potentially fatal allergic reaction, can sometimes be confused for symptoms of an eye infection. If you experience any severe symptoms, you should seek medical attention promptly.

    Common forms of eye infection include:

    - Pink eye (conjunctivitis): Pink eye may be caused by a bacterial or viral infection or an allergic response. Newborns may experience pink eye caused by an incompletely opened tear duct. Pink eye symptoms include red and watery eyes, itchiness, excessive tearing, and discharge from the eye.

    - Stye (hordeolum): Styes are pimple-like bumps that develop on the outer edge of the eyelid. Like acne, styes are infections caused by clogged pores. Dead skin, excess oil production, or bacteria can lead to the formation of a stye. The symptoms of styes include pain and irritation, swelling, excessive tearing, and crustiness around the eyelid.

    - Chalazion: A chalazion is very similar to a stye, in that they are large bumps that develop on the eyelid due to clogged pores. A chalazion may not be as initially painful as a stye, but as they become inflamed it can become swollen, red, and tender to the touch.

    - Keratitis: This is an infection of the cornea, caused by a virus, fungus, bacteria, or parasite. Keratitis can cause red eyes, eye pain, excessive tearing, blurred vision, or difficulty opening the eye. Keratitis is usually treated with medicinal eye drops that contain an antiviral, bacterial, fungal, or parasitic agent.

    - Cellulitis: Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the eyelid tissue. The infection is rarely painful but can cause redness and swelling. Cellulitis is more common in children under the age of 2. Most cases of cellulitis can be treated with antibiotics.

    Treatment Options
    The best way to treat an eye infection is with the help of a medical professional. They will be able to reduce the likelihood of any complications, such as corneal damage, vision loss, or blindness. The treatment plan that they prescribe will be based on the type and severity of your eye infection. Talk to your doctor about the treatment plan that's right for you.
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    FAQs

    Eye Exam Questions

    What happens at an eye exam?

    Eye doctors perform eye exams to help assess the health of your eye and screen for eye conditions. Eye doctors usually conduct two main types of eye exam: routine eye exams and comprehensive eye exams.

    Routine eye exams: Routine eye exams are performed annually or every other year. Routine eye exams are meant to check for vision problems and assess your eyesight. Your eye doctor will ask about your medical history, family history (relating to eye conditions), and any eye problems you may be experiencing. The doctor will perform tests to assess general eye health and check for astigmatism, nearsightedness (myopia), or farsightedness (hyperopia)/ age related farsightedness (presbyopia). During a routine eye exam, your doctor will determine whether you may need eye glasses and contact lenses and develop a prescription that works for you. Some tests performed during a routine eye exam include:

    • Visual acuity tests: Tests that determine how well you see the details of a letter or figure at different distances.

    • Visual field test: This test helps doctors determine where the limit of sight is in the corner of your eye.

    • Refraction tests: To determine whether you may need glasses or contact lenses, eye doctors will use a phoropter to test the refractive error of each eye. A phoropter is a medical device that looks like a large pair of goggles. The eye doctor will ask you to look through the phoropter at a series of letters or images and will adjust the phoropter's lenses until arriving at a prescription that works for you.

    • Eye movement tests: These simple tests can often be performed by tracking the eye's movement as it follows an object in the line of sight. This helps doctors check the strength of your ocular muscles.

    Comprehensive eye exams: An eye doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam to asses eye health and visual acuity and screen for eye conditions and diseases. The eye doctor will run a routine eye exam alongside more specific tests tailored to your vision and eye needs. These are usually longer eye exams that are used to check for signs of eye disease or serious eye problems. Tests that may be performed during a comprehensive eye exam include:

    • Tonometry: Tonometry is a test that helps check for glaucoma by measuring eye pressure - the pressure of fluid in the eye.

    • Slit-lamp tests: Slit-lamp (or biomicroscope) tests check for abnormalities in the cornea, iris, and lens of the eye. The doctor will use a special type of light (slit-lamp) and a low-powered microscope to look at the surface of your eye. This painless examination can help catch macular degeneration, detached retinas, and cataracts.

    Eye exams play a key role in eye health and general healthcare. Not only do eye exams help doctors assess your quality of vision, they also help determine whether you need eyeglasses or other forms of eye care. Comprehensive eye exams are crucial for catching serious eye conditions.

    Why are eye exams necessary?

    Routine eye exams help eye doctors determine whether you need eyeglasses or prescription eye care. If you currently have eyeglasses or use contact lenses, routine eye exams also help determine the prescription that is right for you.

    Comprehensive eye exams help eye doctors screen for eye disease and eye conditions such as:

    • Glaucoma

    • Macular degeneration

    • Strabismus

    • Corneal damage/ abrasions

    • Detached retinas/ retinal damage

    • Optic nerve damage

    • Color blindness

    Based on your medical history and eye health, it is generally recommended that adults receive a comprehensive eye exam every two years to screen for serious eye health problems and eye disease.

    How often should I get an eye exam?

    It depends!

    The frequency of your eye exams should depend on your age as well as your personal and family medical history. The American Optometric Association (AOA) has developed recommendations outlining how often you should receive a comprehensive eye exam based on your age and personal risk of eye problems.

    The AOA recommends that babies receive at least one comprehensive eye exam between birth and the age of 2, and at least one eye exam between the ages of 3-5. Then, the AOA suggests that children receive at least one more eye exam before first grade. After that, at-risk adolescents and adults should receive annual eye exams to help screen for eye disease and vision problems.

    If you are low-risk or do not have vision problems, it is recommended that you get an eye exam every two years.

    You should receive more regular eye exams if you have:

    • A family history of eye problems and vision loss

    • Preexisting health problems that affect your eyes (such as diabetes)

    • Use and need prescription eye care (such as contact lenses, eyeglasses, or other eyewear)

    How expensive is an eye exam without insurance?

    Without insurance, eye exams can cost anywhere from $90-$200. This covers the doctor's fee as well as the cost of any tests that may be performed.

    On Sesame, you can connect with real, quality doctors for video eye exams starting at just $33. Eye exams are critical in screening for vision loss and help you and your eye doctors stay one step ahead of chronic vision problems. Sesame works directly with eye doctors licensed to treat patients in Bend, OR. On Sesame, the price you see is the price you pay - no hidden fees or surprise bills. Just simple, easy eye care.

    Eye doctors on Sesame are also qualified to perform comprehensive eye exams, which start at $114. Save 60% when you book your next eye care appointment with Sesame.

    Can I check my eyesight at home?

    Yep! You can test your visual acuity through a simple at-home test. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has several printable eye charts that you can use to assess your vision. Print out a chart you like, place it on a wall in your home, and follow the directions from the AAO to get a feel for your current visual acuity.

    While these tests are an easy (and fun!) way to test your vision, they should not take the place of a comprehensive eye exam. You cannot screen for eye disease or serious vision problems with a printable eye chart.

    It is recommended that you consult with a certified eye doctor once every year for an eye exam. The AOA recommends comprehensive eye exams every 1-2 years, so that an eye doctor can screen you for eye disease, eye problems, and vision loss. These visits play a key role in detecting certain conditions early, such as:

    • Glaucoma

    • Macular degeneration

    • Cataracts

    • Hypertensive retinopathy (a condition where high blood pressure damages the retina and optic nerve)

    Connect today with a qualified eye doctor on Sesame to get the vision care you need. Real, licensed doctors post upfront, cash prices on Sesame, saving you up to 60% on eye exams - all without copays, hidden fees or surprise bills. With Sesame, the price you see is the price you pay. It's the way health care should be.

    What is astigmatism?

    Astigmatism is one of the most common vision problems - it is estimated that 33% of all Americans experience it to some degree. It's also one of the main reasons people wear glasses and contacts.

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) defines astigmatism as "...an imperfection in the curvature of your eye's cornea or lens" that causes vision challenges. The cornea - the transparent, front part of the eye - is supposed to be round, like a basketball or tennis ball. In individuals with astigmatism, the cornea becomes slightly warped, and begins to look more like a football in shape. These imperfections make it difficult for your eyes to focus light on the retina (the back part of the eye), causing blurred or uneven vision.

    Eye doctors conduct eye exams to diagnose astigmatism, which is treatable with prescription eyeglasses or contacts. These lenses compensate for the imperfections in the cornea and properly focus light on the retina - restoring normal vision (voila!).

    If you are experiencing nearsighted/farsightedness or blurry vision, connect with a doctor on Sesame today for a video or in-person eye exam.

    What is the main cause of astigmatism?

    Astigmatism is a naturally occurring eye condition, in which irregular curvature in either the cornea (corneal astigmatism) or the lens (lenticular astigmatism) leads to refractive errors and blurry vision.

    Some common symptoms of astigmatism include:

    • Blurry vision/ vision problems at all distances.

    • Eyestrain

    • Headaches

    Curved surfaces on the eye bend (refract) light, creating sharp images and clear vision. Irregular curvature in either the corneal surface or the lens causes abnormal refraction of light rays in the eye. This often leads to mismatched images in the eye and blurry vision - a common symptom of astigmatism.

    Most cases of astigmatism are present at birth. It is a naturally occurring eye condition, caused only by the shape of the eye's surface. In some cases, astigmatism can be brought on by eye disease, eye injury, or as a side effect of eye surgery.

    Book a video appointment over Sesame with a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist who can assess your vision and get you the care you need. Eye doctors can prescribe corrective lenses such as eyeglasses or contact lenses to help correct astigmatism and improve visual acuity. Save up to 60% on these services on Sesame. We work directly with doctors - not insurance companies - to get you affordable, upfront prices without hidden fees or copays.

    What are the symptoms of astigmatism?

    Astigmatism is a naturally occurring, painless condition. It is caused by an abnormal curvature on the surface of the eye (corneal astigmatism) or in the lens (lenticular astigmatism). In many cases, astigmatism is present with other forms of refractive errors, including:

    • Nearsightedness (myopia): distant objects seem blurry

    • Farsightedness (hyperopia): nearby objects seem blurry

    • Age-related farsightedness (presbyopia): Farsightedness caused by the loss of elasticity in the eye's lens, usually brought on by aging

    Astigmatism causes blurry vision, as refracted light creates competing images in the eye. These mismatched images appear foggy or blurry. Your eyes will try to work extra hard to focus on this double vision, which leads to eyestrain and headaches.

    Common symptoms of astigmatism include:

    • Blurry vision

    • Distorted/ fuzzy vision

    • Eyestrain

    • Headaches

    • Difficulty seeing at night

    • Squinting

    In some cases, you may not experience symptoms of astigmatism at all. If astigmatism goes uncorrected, the strain on your eyes may cause lazy eye (or amblyopia). If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, get in touch with an eye doctor right away. Eye exams are important in helping catch eye conditions like astigmatism before they cause damage to the eye. Your doctor can prescribe corrective lenses or refractive surgery (such as laser surgery) to help correct vision problems you may be experiencing.

    What is the treatment for astigmatism?

    Astigmatism is a naturally occurring, painless condition. The refractive errors in the eye can lead to blurry vision and eye strain. If left uncorrected, this constant strain on the eye can lead to lazy eye (or amblyopia).

    Most cases of astigmatism are easily corrected. If you're experiencing symptoms of astigmatism - eye strain or blurry vision, for example - connect with an eye doctor on Sesame for an affordable, upfront price to learn about your options and next steps. An eye doctor can talk to you about your degree of astigmatism and the proper eye care needed to help correct it. The most common forms of vision correction are:

    Eyeglasses: Prescription eyeglasses contain lenses that help compensate for the refractive error in the eye. Lenses are specially shaped to help light bend properly into the eye.

    Contact lenses: Contact lenses, like eyeglasses correct refractive errors in the eye. Contact lenses can also be used in orthokeratology, which the American Optometric Association (AOA) described as "braces for your eyes". Orthokeratology is a process where rigid contact lenses are worn at night to gently reshape the cornea. Orthokeratology is often used with children, as vision can continue to change as they grow older.

    Refractive surgery: In cases of severe vision problems, or if a patient simply does not want to wear corrective lenses, refractive surgery can be performed as a method of vision correction. The most common forms of refractive surgery are:

    Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK): LASIK surgery is generally considered a safe and effective form of refractive error correction. In this procedure, a surgeon will use a focused laser beam to create a tiny flap in the cornea, then reshapes the cornea to properly refract light into the eye.

    Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK): Similarly to LASIK surgery, a surgeon will use a focused laser beam to reshape the curve of the cornea. Instead of cutting a flap in the cornea, though, the surgeon will gently remove the top layer of cells in the cornea and reshape the corneal curve. They will then refit the top layer of cells from the cornea once the shaping is finished. PRK is recommended for people with active lifestyles. According to the AAO, activity can accidentally dislodge the flap created in the cornea with LASIK. PRK refits the top of the cornea after shaping is finished, so this isn't a concern after the procedure.

    Most forms of refractive error can be easily corrected with the help of an eye doctor. Whether you need corrective lenses or surgery, it is important for your eye health that you get help with any vision problems you may have. Even if you don't notice any symptoms of astigmatism, you might have small refractive errors in your eyes that can lead to complications down the road. The AOA recommends that adults get comprehensive eye exams every few years, to catch any eye conditions before they become serious. Save up to 60% on your next eye exam by booking through Sesame. Search for the doctor you want to see, compare prices and book a visit at your convenience. It's that simple.

    What is nearsightedness (myopia)?

    Myopia (nearsightedness) is an eye condition in which you can clearly see close objects but have trouble focusing on objects far away from you. Nearsightedness occurs when the curvature of the eye causes a refractive error, bending light rays improperly. This focuses visual images on the front of the retina, instead of on the retina itself, causing burry vision.

    Nearsightedness is usually genetic. But don't worry! Myopia is not an eye disease and is easily treated with corrective lenses or refractive surgery. Myopia can occur at birth, develop over time, or appear suddenly.

    Farsightedness, also called hyperopia, is the opposite. It occurs when the cornea has too little curve, causing nearby objects to appear blurry while leaving far-off objects focused and sharp.

    What causes nearsightedness?

    Nearsightedness is an inherited trait that parents often pass on to their kids. Genetics is the most significant cause of nearsightedness.

    Nearsightedness occurs when the corneal surface is too steep (think of an overinflated basketball) or the eyeball is longer than normal. This irregular eye shape causes a refractive error that focuses images in front of the retina - rather than on the retina itself. If nearsightedness goes untreated, it can result in complications down the road, including:

    Eyestrain: As your eyes try to focus blurry vision, they may become strained by overexertion. This can cause sore, watery, or light-sensitive eyes.

    Eye problems: Nearsightedness that goes untreated, or cases of severe nearsightedness, can cause serious eye health problems such as:

    • Retinal detachment

    • Glaucoma

    • High myopia (nearsightedness that gets progressively worse)

    • Myopic maculopathy (damage to the retina causing vision problems/ vision loss)

    Nearsightedness may occur along with astigmatism, a refractive error that causes blurred vision. If you are experiencing persistent vision problems, it is recommended that you talk to an eye doctor (optometrist or ophthalmologist) about vision correction options that might be right for you. Eye health plays a key role in your quality of life, as well as your safety. If nearsightedness goes untreated, it can lead to complications later on in life.

    Sesame offers convenient and affordable eye examinations with real, quality doctors Bend, OR. Eye doctors on Sesame can assess give you a vision assessment, discuss treatment options, and prescribe corrective lenses if you need them. Save up to 60% on your next eye exam by booking through Sesame.

    Can you correct nearsightedness?

    Yep! Nearly all cases of myopia can be improved with corrective lenses, medicated eye drops, and refractive surgery.

    The first step toward vision correction is scheduling a comprehensive eye exam with a licensed optometrist. Your eye doctor will perform refraction and eye health assessments to help determine what is causing your vision problems and treatment options that may be right for you.

    Common forms of vision correction used to fix nearsightedness include:

    Eyeglasses: Prescription eyeglasses feature lenses that help compensate for the refractive error in the eye. Lenses are specially shaped to help light bend properly into the eye.

    Contact lenses: Just like eyeglasses, contact lenses correct refractive errors in the eye. Contact lenses can also be used in orthokeratology, which the American Optometric Association (AOA) described as "braces for your eyes". Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) is a process where rigid contact lenses are worn at night to gently reshape the cornea. Orthokeratology is often used with children, as vision can continue to change as they grow older.

    If you want to correct your vision problems without having to wear contact lenses or eyeglasses, your eye doctor may recommend a surgical procedure. Eye surgery is normally done through an ophthalmology clinic after a referral from an optometrist. Surgical procedures that correct refractive errors in the eye are known as refractive surgery.

    Refractive surgery procedures often include:

    Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK): LASIK surgery is a safe and effective form of refractive error correction. In this procedure, a surgeon will use a focused laser beam to create a tiny flap in the cornea, which they will then reshape to properly refract light into the eye.

    Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK): Similarly to LASIK surgery, a surgeon will use a focused laser beam to reshape the curve of the cornea. Instead of cutting a flap in the cornea, as would happen in a LASIK procedure, the surgeon will gently remove the top layer of cells in the cornea and reshape the corneal curve. They will then refit the top layer of cells from the cornea once the shaping is finished. PRK is recommended for people with active lifestyles or jobs. According to the AAO, activity can accidentally dislodge the flap created in the cornea with LASIK. PRK refits the top of the cornea after shaping is finished, so there is less concern after the procedure.

    Because nearsightedness can get worse as vision develops and the body grows, there are a number therapeutic treatment options available to help slow the progression of distance vision loss. These therapies include:

    Ortho-K: Ortho-K contact lenses can help gently reshape the cornea during sleep. Ortho-K treatment, if used consistently and as prescribed, can correct vision problems significantly.

    Atropine eye drops: Atropine eye drops help relax the eye's muscle and dilate pupils, helping the eye focus more easily. This has been show to help slow the progression of nearsightedness, especially in children. Atropine may lead to discomfort and light sensitivity, so long-term use is rarely prescribed by eye doctors.

    Multi-focal Lenses: Multifocal lenses in both contacts and eyeglasses have been shown to help slow the progression of nearsightedness in children. These lenses are less effective with adults but have been shown to reduce nearsighted progression by 30-50% in children between the ages of 8-12 years old.

    What is farsightedness (hyperopia)?

    Farsightedness (hyperopia) is a common eye condition in which you can clearly see distant objects, but nearby objects appear fuzzy. Farsightedness occurs when a lack of curvature in the cornea refracts, or bends, light rays improperly, and results in the blurry vision described above.

    Because farsightedness is caused by a flat shape of the cornea or a smaller-than-normal eyeball, it can often run in families. Being farsighted is not an eye disease, and is often easily treated with corrective lenses (such as eyeglasses or contact lenses) or refractive surgery. Hyperopia can occur at birth, or develop over time.

    In contrast, nearsightedness (myopia) occurs when the cornea has too much curve, causing close objects to appear in focus, but distant objects appear blurry.

    What causes farsightedness?

    Farsightedness is usually caused by a refractive error in the cornea or an eye that is shorter than normal. Light rays refract through the cornea and the lens to project images onto the retina at the back of the eye. When the cornea is too flat, or if the eye is too short, images will instead be projected behind the retina.

    Improper refraction of light causes near vision to be blurry or fuzzy, but distant objects appear with relative clarity.

    As the lens of your eye hardens with age, it becomes harder to focus on nearby objects. As the eye loses "elasticity", farsightedness can occur. Age-related farsightedness is a common vision problem for aging adults and is known as presbyopia.

    Farsightedness is a common eye problem that can be easily addressed with eye care and prescriptive treatment options. If you have difficulty focusing on nearby objects or experience eyestrain, it is recommended that you speak with an eye doctor (such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist) to schedule a comprehensive eye exam. An eye doctor will discuss your symptoms with you, conduct an eye test/ vision assessment, and may prescribe treatment if it is needed. After an eye examination, farsighted people are usually able to correct their blurred vision with corrective lenses or refractive surgery.

    Do I need glasses for farsightedness?

    Not all the time. Some mild cases of farsightedness do not require glasses, as the refractive error in the eye isn't enough to cause blurred vision. Some children may experience farsightedness early in life, but as their eyes lengthen, they grow out of the condition.

    While most adults do not experience complications from farsightedness, it can cause damage to eye health. Some complications that may arise from farsightedness include:

    • Lazy eye (amblyopia)

    • Crossed eyes (strabismus)

    • Glaucoma

    • Eyestrain

    What is dry eye syndrome and how can I prevent it?

    Dry eye syndrome is a condition that occurs when your body does not produce enough tears to sufficiently lubricate your eyes - which can lead to discomfort and even eye infections.

    From time to time, it's completely normal for your eyes to feel dry. They could be caused by hormonal changes, aging, or environmental factors like warm weather. There are a number of ways you can reduce your risk of developing dry eyes. It is recommended that you:

    • Avoid blowing air conditioners, hair dryers, or heaters into your eyes. The air and heat produced by these items can lead to increased tear evaporation and dry eyes.

    • Use a humidifier to keep moisture in the air of your home or place of work. This can help keep the surface of the eyes moist.

    • Take nutritional supplements with omega-3 fatty acids. These have been shown to help reduce symptoms of dry eyes.

    • Blink frequently and take eye breaks while working on a computer. Staring at a computer screen for a long time can cause your eyes to dry out. Similarly, if you are concentrating on a task, you may be less likely to blink, which can prevent eyelids from lubricating the eyes with a tear film. Rest your eyes and remember to blink frequently to keep eyes moist while working on a computer.

    • Wear sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes from wind and dry air. If you deal with chronic dry eyes, it is recommended that you use sunglasses with wrap around frames to fully protect the eye.

    • Don't smoke. Smoking can lead to decreased tear production and dry eye syndrome.

    When your dry eyes become chronic, it's time for a doctor to get involved. If left untreated, dry eyes can cause discomfort and even vision problem. Connect with a real, qualified eye doctor on Sesame to get the relief you need for your dry eyes. Eye doctors licensed to treat patients {{inLocationOrNearYou}} can diagnose your condition over video and develop a treatment plan that works for you - all for one affordable, upfront price.

    Is dry eye syndrome a serious condition?

    Dry eyes are a common eye condition, particularly in adults over the age of 65. There are a number of dry eye treatments and eye care measures you can take to prevent or reduce the effects of dry eyes. Dry syndrome can be easily treated but, if left unaddressed, can begin to have serious impacts on your vision and eye health. Possible side effects of dry eye syndrome include:

    Eye infections: Tears aren't just for crying - they wash away the foreign matter and bacteria that cause eye infections. If your eyes are no longer able to produce a sufficient amount of tears, you may be more prone to eye infections and discomfort.

    Damage to the surface of the eye: Severe cases of dry eyes, as well as chronic dry eye, can actually damage the surface of the eye. If tear glands are unable to wash away small particles of dirt or debris, small corneal abrasions may occur - leading to vision problems or eye infections. Chronic dry eyes can also inflame the eyelids, causing infections like conjunctivitis. While not the same as bacterial conjunctivitis (or pink eye), this condition can still cause blurry vision and discomfort.

    If you are experiencing chronic dry eyes or severe dry eye syndrome, it is recommended that you speak to an ophthalmologist to discuss treatment options and eye care plans that can protect your eyes. If left untreated, dry eye syndrome (or dry eye disease) can lead to dangerous infection and damage to the surface of the eye.

    What are the symptoms of dry eyes?

    Dry eye syndrome is a common but uncomfortable eye condition that, if unaddressed, can have long term impacts on your eye health. Some common symptoms of dry eyes include:

    • Redness

    • Stinging, or burning feeling in the eye

    • Light sensitivity

    • Watery eyes

    • Blurred vision

    • Stringy mucus in or around the eye

    Severe cases of dry eyes can lead to eye infections or eye disease, as the lacrimal glands are unable to create enough lubrication to wash away foreign debris and bacteria in the eye.

    What causes dry eyes?

    Tears aren't just for when you're feeling down. They are vital in lubricating and cleaning the surface of the eye (also known as the cornea) and washing away foreign debris. Tear production helps maintain a tear film on the cornea, which fights eye infections and improves eye health. Dry eye disease - also sometimes called dry eye syndrome - occurs when the lacrimal glands in the conjunctiva (the membrane inside the eyelid) are unable to produce enough tears to properly lubricate the eye and supply tears. Some specific causes of dry eyes are:

    Inadequate tear production: If your tear ducts don't produce enough tears to lubricate the eye and maintain a tear film, your eyes are at risk infection and other serious conditions.

    Environmental factors: Dry air or excessive wind can cause increased tear evaporation and reduced tear production.

    Aging: People ages 65+ may experience dry eye due to a weakening lacrimal gland. This means that tear production is reduced, and the tear film on the corneal surface is less present. This can lead to eye infections and eye problems.

    Medical conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders, Parkinson's Disease, and diabetes can cause dry eyes. Eye diseases can also cause dryness, such as: blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid), ocular rosacea (rosacea in the eyes) or Sjogren's Syndrome (an autoimmune disease that results in chronic dry eyes and dry mouth).

    Medications: Certain medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications (such as diuretics), birth control pills, antidepressants, and acne medication can cause reduced tear production.

    Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes during menopause or ingestion of birth control pills can cause women to develop cases of dry eyes.

    Computer use: Long term computer use can reduce tear production and lead to dry eyes and blurry vision.

    Corneal nerve conditions: Long term use of contact lenses, or loss of nerve sensitivity due to eye surgery/ refractive surgery (such as LASIK, can reduce tear production and cases of dry eyes.

    Poor quality of tears: Tears are made up of water, oil, and mucus. Eye conditions such as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, results from low-quality tears, can cause symptoms of dry eyes.

    What is the best cure for dry eyes?

    If you are experiencing chronic dry eyes, or severe dry eye symptoms, it is recommended that you schedule a consultation with an ophthalmologist at an ophthalmology clinic to discuss treatment plans that might be right for you. Eye doctors use a few different methods to treat dry eyes, including:

    Warm compress/ eye masks: Warm compresses applied to the eye lids can help reduce inflammation, stimulate tear production, and ease swelling. Similarly, silicone eye masks worn at night can help hydrate the area around the eyelid and encourage increased tear production.

    Antibiotics: Antibiotics can fight infection and ease inflammation in the eyelid and around the eye. Inflammation can prevent glands in the eyelid from secreting oil into tears, which can lead to accelerated tear evaporation. Antibiotics reduce swelling around the eyelid and help promote the tear creation needed to keep eye infections at bay.

    Artificial tear solutions: Artificial tear drops can help with lubrication and relieve redness in the eye. Be sure to select an artificial tear solution that is preservative-free, however, as these additives can sometimes irritate your eyes and worsen your symptoms.

    Prescription eye drops: Eye drops prescribed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist can help reduce inflammation on the corneal surface. Drugs featuring cyclosporine (such as Restasis) can help control natural tear production, and lessen inflammation.

    Supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids can help encourage tear production, and may be recommended by a doctor as a supplement along with other drugs/ treatment options.

    Dry eyes can cause infection and serious side effects, such as vision loss, if left untreated. Most cases of dry eyes will go away with eye care treatment, and some medication. If symptoms persist, it is recommended that you speak with a doctor to discuss treatment options and prescription medication that may help.

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