Dry Eye

Dry eye syndrome affect at least 10 million people in America. The dryness causes burning, redness and discomfort and patients often experience blurred vision.  Dry eyes can be treated in many ways.

Symptoms:

  • A gritty sensation
  • Feeling of a foreign body in the eye
  • Pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Blurring of vision
  • Tearing
  • Difficulty working at a computer

Causes:

  • Natural aging processes (menopause, hormones)
  • Medication effects (antihistamines, diuretics)
  • Certain disease processes particularly autoimmune:  Lupus, Sjogrens syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, Thyroid disease
  • Structural problems of the lids that cause exposure of the eyes (Bell's palsy)
  • Dry air from heating and air conditioning vents
  • Excessive work at a computer screen

If my eyes are dry, then why am I tearing?

Sometimes, people with dry eyes will have excess tears running down their face, which may not make sense.  When the eye is really dry, it sends a distress signal to the brain for more lubrication.  In response, the eye is flooded with tears to try to compensate for the underlying dryness.  However, these tears are mostly water and do not lubricate the eyes properly.  Additional lubrication is necessary!

Treatment of Dry Eye Syndrome:

  • Artificial tear drops
  • Artificial tear ointment at bedtime
  • Punctual plugs in the tear ducts to enhance moisturization
  • Prescription eye drops:  Restasis
  • Using a humidifier in the house to moisturize the air

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