Among other things, eye comfort and good vision rely on a healthy moisture balance. Tears don’t just help people cry. They create a three-layer (oily, water and mucus layers) protective film for the eye. If the eye’s natural tears evaporate or drain without being replenished, you can develop sore eyes, blurred vision, possible infection and protein deposits within the eye area. These symptoms point to Dry Eye Syndrome. If left untreated, Dry Eye Syndrome can permanently damage sight and scar the cornea of the eye.
Are you at risk for Dry Eye Syndrome?
- Age tops the list of risk factors. People older than 65 years are most at risk
- Women face Dry Eye Syndrome more than men due to hormonal changes from pregnancy, breast feeding, birth control, menstruation and menopause.
- Diabetes, thyroid disorders, asthma, cataracts, glaucoma, lupus, rosacea and rheumatoid arthritis also increase the risk of Dry Eye Syndrome.
- Some medications decrease tear production. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you currently take prescription or non-prescription drugs before you start any new medication.
- Irritants and other environmental conditions, such as smoke, wind and a dry climate cause more rapid tear evaporation.
- Prolonged computer use, during which you forget to blink is a risk many of us face with today’s technology-heavy world.
- Refractive surgery patients are also at risk for Dry Eye Syndrome.
- Contacts lens wearers have to moisten both the contact lens and the cornea. Dry eye patients experience discomfort, irritation, redness and decreased contact lens wearing time.
- Dry, red, irritated eyes
- Eye pain
- Blurred vision
- Lack of natural tears
- Watery eye due to reflex tearing
If you experience the above symptoms, please contact us for an exam.
- Eye drops that provide artificial tears help, but only temporarily. Prolonged use can reduce the effectiveness of your normal tear layer and can also wash away your own infection-blocking tear antibodies.
- Medications to help produce natural tears also come as drops. Specifically, we use the prescription eye drops RESTASIS® Ophthalmic Emulsion, when appropriate. This daily eye drop increases tear production for people with Dry Eye Syndrome. It helps you produce more of your own tears instead of artificial tears, which only lubricate the eye.
- For severe and persistent Dry Eye Syndrome, we may use punctual occlusion, which we use to close the tear duct and force the tears to stay in the eye.
- Punctum plugs are tiny silicone plugs we insert into the punctual opening to keep tears in the eyes.
- Cauterization is also an option to close the ducts.
- We may opt to close the ducts with the use of a laser instead of cauterization.
At Bagan Strinden Vision, your dry eyes will be graded, based on symptoms and a thorough examination. A chronic problem can be made better through an individualized treatment plan.
- Replace inadequate tear layer with high quality preservative free tear film stabilizers
- Treat any associated oil layer deficiency with flax seed oil oral supplements
- Treat any associated blepharitis with hygiene and possible oral Doxycycline
- Same as Mild but RESTASIS® 0.05% 2x/day to improve quality of tear and increase tear production in 60% of patients. Typically, this takes 2-6 months for any effect.
- Topical steroid
- Try same RX above but add ointment or gel at night.
- Moisture glasses or goggles
- Increase environmental moisture with humidifiers
- Consider punctual occlusion
- Acetyl cysteine 4x/day for mucoid discharge
Ask the Doctor
Q: My eyes often feel dry and irritated several times during the day, but my eye drops don’t seem to help. What can I do?
A: Artifical tear eye drops may help people that have mild dry eyes but are usually not enough for those who suffer from moderate to severe dry eyes. We offer the most advanced dry eye therapy to our patients.