Dry Eye

dry eyeDry eye syndrome is a common condition in which the eyes are insufficiently lubricated due to an inadequate tear film.

Common symptoms of dry eye include to irritation, redness and watering eyes. Dry eye can be due to a deficiency in tear production, excessive tear evaporation, or a chemical imbalance in the tears composition.

It can cause damage to the ocular surface as the disease progresses leading to vision loss. Alleviating the symptoms of dry eye is important. Left untreated, it can be debilitating.

Causes Of Dry Eye

There are many different causes of dry eye. People usually begin experiencing symptoms as they age. It can result from certain medications, medical conditions and injuries. Dry eye tends to affect women more than men. Common causes of dry eye include the following:

  • Antihistamines, decongestants and blood-pressure medications
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, Diabetes, Sjögren’s syndrome and thyroid disease
  • Environmental conditions such as smoke, wind or excessive sun
  • Long-term contact lens use
  • Eye injury
  • Eye or eyelid surgery
  • Inflammation of the eye (conjunctivitis or keratitis)

Symptoms Of Dry Eye

The symptoms of dry eye typically occur in both eyes, and include the following:

  • Stinging, burning or scratchiness
  • Eye fatigue
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Excessive tearing
  • Blurry vision

Diagnosis of Dry Eye

Dry eye can be diagnosed after a thorough examination of the eyes. Specific tests including tear break-up time, Schirmer’s test and tear osmolarity can help to identify the cause of dryness. Once the cause is identified, specific treatment can be employed.

Treatment Of Dry Eye

Treatment for dry eye depends on its cause and severity, as well as the patient’s overall health and personal preference.

Nonsurgical Treatments

Nonsurgical treatments, which include the following, are often effective:

  • Increasing humidity levels at home or work – especially when furnace or A/C running
  • Avoiding environmental irritants (e.g. smoke)
  • Eliminating medications that may be responsible
  • Artificial tears or a lubricating ointment
  • Restasis
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

Other Treatments

If less invasive methods are unsuccessful, other treatments, which include the following, may be an option:

  • Insertion of punctal plugs to limit tear drainage
  • Punctal cautery to permanently close the drainage channels
  • Therapeutic contact lenses
  • Eyelid surgery may be recommended.
  • Amniotic membrane

Preventing Dry Eye

There are steps that can be taken to prevent dry-eye symptoms. Simple lifestyle modifications such as wearing protective glasses on windy days, and giving the eyes a break during reading or other tasks that require intense focus, can effectively reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms.

Call 586.263.1168 today if you have any questions or comments, or to learn more about how we can help you.