Dry eye syndrome is a common disease in which the eye under-produces tears or tears leave the eye too quickly. A normal functioning eye constantly produces tears to form a tear film, which acts as moisturizer and lubricant. For someone with dry eye, the resulting lack of moisture and lubrication can cause a variety of problems.
In our office we use Tear Labs Osmolarity System, which is a painless and quick measurement of tear concentration. This way we can easily follow our treatments and monitor their effectiveness.
Dry eye symptoms may include:
A burning, stinging, or scratchy sensation in the eyes.
Eyes may redden and become easily irritated by wind or smoke.
Intermittent blurring of vision
Contact lenses may be difficult or impossible to wear.
Sometimes the eye will actually produce excessive tears, and overflow.*
*Though it sounds contradictory, sometimes the eye will actually produce excessive tears, and overflow. The eye becomes irritated by the lack of lubrication and attempts to cleanse itself with a flood of tears. This is a similar phenomenon to the tearing that occurs when foreign matter is stuck in one’s eye.
Dry eye syndrome is typically more common in older people and women; however, there are many other factors that can cause this to happen. A common cause of dry eye can be over the counter and prescription medications such as antihistamines, beta-blockers, sleeping pills, pain relievers and many others. Overuse of diuretics can also play a role in developing dry eye. For this reason, it is very important to inform your ophthalmologist about any medications you are currently taking, which can help the doctor in the proper diagnosis of the disease.
Sometimes the cause is unknown in a case of dry eye. Known causes of dry eye may be natural, related to a larger condition, or the side effect of certain medications. Also, tear production often slows down as people get older. This is particularly common for women after menopause.
Treatments for dry eye:
Prescription medications: Can sometimes increase tear production for those with chronic dry eye. It does this by targeting inflammation in the eye.
Nutritional supplements: There are various oral nutritional supplements that can improve the quality of tears.
Controlling one’s environment: Patients should avoid situations in which tears evaporate quickly; for example, by using a humidifier in a dry house, wearing wrap-around glasses in the wind, and not smoking.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of dry eye, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule a consultation.