Easily our number two complaint nowadays after blurred vision is the eyes feeling dry. Dry eye is a very complicated condition. What we end up with is blurred vision, discomfort, and contact lens intolerance. Dry eye can even masquerade as an allergy.
Patients come in thinking that, since their eyes are gritty, sandy, burning, and itching, they must have an allergy. Just as dry skin can itch, so can a dry eye, and by getting a good look under the microscope at the eye and getting a good thorough history from the patient, we can usually figure out what is causing the dryness, whether they need just a simple over the counter artificial tear, whether they would benefit from a prescription medication like Restasis, or if it's a contact lens related dry eye, maybe a different contact lens material or a different cleaning system. Maybe they need to decrease their wear time with the contact lenses.
Allergy can also be very similar to a dry eye because you’re getting the itching and the burning and the watering. So again, a routine exam can pick up on that quite easily. With an allergy, the eye we still have the same sort of complaint, but the treatment is quite different.