Dry Eye Syndrome

eyedry Dry Eye Syndrome is a very common disorder of the tear film with the most common symptom being excessive watering. There are two types of tears that the eye produces:

1. lubricating tears: these tears are produced slowly over the course of the day and contain a precise balance of nutrients, water and oils that protect the surface of your eye from the harsh environment.

2. reflex tears: these tears are your body’s reaction when it becomes irritated or injured. When you get something in your eye or you walk through smoke on a fall day, for example. Reflex tears pour out of the eye so fast that the built in drainage system cannot handle, therefore they run out and down your cheek. Another cause of reflex tears is irritation of the eye from a lack of lubricating tears.

If your eye fails to produce sufficient amounts of lubricating tears, you have excessive tear evaporation or an abnormal production of mucus in the tear layer, you will be diagnosed with dry eye.

Symptoms

  • dry, gritty/scratchy feeling in the eye – like sand in your eye
  • watery eyes
  • burning or itching in the eyes
  • blurred vision
  • a sensation that you have something in your eye
  • irritated eyes that can produce a mucus discharge

If you are experiencing these symptoms, give us a call at 866-340-EYES to schedule an appointment for evaluation.

causes

  • Contact lens wear
  • Aging – the glands in the eyelid produce less oil as we age that helps keep tears from evaporating off the eye, thus leaving eye dry.
  • Diseases such as: diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Parkinson’s
  • Hormonal changes (especially after menopause)
  • Some medications, such as antihistamines, sleep aids, antidepressants, beta-blockers, and oral contraceptives, may decrease tear production.
  • Hot, dry, or windy conditions: High altitude, air-conditioning and smoke can also cause dry eye.
  • LASIK or other laser vision correction surgeries can aggravate dry eye.

Diagnosing

Dr. Adelson will check for dry eye by examining your eyes with a slit lamp to look at the amount and thickness of the tear films, the stability of the film and to check for cornea damage. He will measure the amount of it takes your tears to evaporate and the overall tear production. He will also check for any scratches on the front of the eye caused by dryness.

Treatments

To help alleviate your symptoms, you can try some of the following at home treatments:

  • Humidifier – to add more moisture into the air
  • Turn off any ceiling fans or moving air flow
  • Change your furnace air filter
  • Hot compress over the eyelid area

Artificial tears are themost common treatment to provide moisture and lubrication for the eye. Artificial tears come in liquid form, gel form or as a long-lasting ointment. There are many brands of artificial tears are most are available over-the-counter. The drops are typically used 4 times a day or more often as needed.

Restasis

Restasis is a medication applied to the affected eye(s) twice a day. Restasis drops help the eyes produce more tears due to inflammation. Restasis is the first drug proven to effectively treat the cause of Dry Eye Syndrome rather than just temporarily alleviate symptoms.

About the treatment: Dr. Adelson will recommend a drop in the eye twice a day, every 12 hours. You will receive the benefits from Restasis for as long as you continue the medication. Restasis can be used in conjunction with artificial tear products, however you may need artificial drops less as you continue Restasis.

Punctal Occlusion

Dr. Adelson may recommend a medical treatment for dry eye that will enable your eyes to make better and longer use of the tears they already produce. This is done by blocking some of all of the puncta (the openings in the corner of the eyes near your nose). This will improved the lubrication of the eye by slowing down tear drainage. The punctum can also be permanently closed with a heat or laser procedure if necessary.

the procedure: Your treatment will be performed in our office. Dr. Adelson will numb the eye using drops then he will insert a small plug in one or more natural openings in the eye to slow the drainage of tears from your eyes. Once the plugs get wet with your tears, they will expand to fill the opening. The entire procedure will take just a few minutes and most patients report immediate relief and resume normal activities immediately.