There is a relationship between dry eye and cataracts, but it isn’t what you think it is. Cataracts do not cause dry eye, but temporary dry eye is a possible side effect from cataract surgery.
For many people, when they have dry eye after cataract surgery, it’s because they had it before. It is a good idea to treat your dry eye before any eye surgeries. Keep reading to find out more about dry eye with cataracts!
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is chronic irritation in the eyes due to a lack of tears, or low quality tears. Symptoms include itchiness, redness, grittiness, and a buildup of mucus around the eyes.
Dry eye is often caused by more than one thing and is usually a combination of the following:
- Getting older
- Hormonal imbalance
- Certain medications such as antihistamines or antidepressants
- Too much screen usage
- Improper use or maintenance of contact lenses
- Dry or dusty environment
Treating Dry Eye
Dry eye is often treated with eye drops as the first treatment option. Over the counter eye drops provide excellent relief for people with mild symptoms. Prescription strength eye drops or antibiotics may help you control inflammation as well.
Treatment may also come in more physical forms. One popular way to deal with dry eye is massaging the eyelids with heat.
This opens up and unclogs the glands that are responsible for producing the oil layer of your tears. Sometimes it is beneficial to use punctal plugs.
Punctal plugs block your tear ducts, forcing your tears to stay on the surface longer. When tears aren’t evaporating, essential nutrients can finally get delivered into your eyes. Punctal plugs can be permanent, or you can have temporary ones that dissolve over time.
How are Cataracts Removed?
When you undergo cataract surgery, more than just the cataract gets removed. Cataracts occur because proteins in the eye begin clumping together over time.
As the proteins clump together, it causes vision loss. Once a cataract has fully developed, the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and hard to see through. It is necessary to remove the entire lens during cataract surgery.
The lens is replaced with an IOL, which is short for intraocular lens. These lenses are small and made from either acrylic or silicon.
There are several kinds of IOLs available, depending on your personal lifestyle needs. Some types of IOLs can even fix your vision to the point where you no longer need glasses!
Incisions made during the surgery can sever nerve endings in the cornea. This can then lead to dry eye during recovery from cataract surgery.
These symptoms are very common and usually clear up within a few days. Results vary from patient to patient, and it may take longer for you to heal than others.
Postoperative dry eye can be discouraging for patients looking forward to clear vision. If it’s a continuing problem, your cataract surgeon can help come up with a solution.
Wondering if it’s time for you to undergo cataract surgery? Schedule a cataract screening at the Pinke Eye Center in Shelton, CT today!