To help keep your eyes comfortable and your vision optimal, a normal, thin film of tears coats your eyes. Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a common disorder of the tear film, affecting a significant percentage of the population, especially those older than 40 years of age.
Hormonal changes, autoimmune diseases, medications (such as antihistamines, antidepressants, beta-blockers, and oral contraceptives) can all lead to DES. When you read, work on the computer, watch TV, or perform a task that requires close attention with your eyes, you may not blink as often. This decreased blinking allows excessive evaporation of the tears. Other ocular conditions may also contribute to poor tear quality and DES.
Dry Eye Syndrome Symptoms
- Dry, gritty/scratchy, or filmy feeling in the eyes
- Burning or itching in the eyes
- Redness of the eyes
- Blurred vision
- A sensation of having a foreign body in the eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Eye pain
- Excessive tearing
Sometimes a symptom of DES may actually be intermittent excessive tearing with DES. When your eye becomes slightly dry and irritated, it may initiate reflex tearing with production of a large amount of tears all at once to try to get moist and comfortable again. Unfortunately, your eye can only handle so many tears at any one time; the rest pour over your eyelids and down your cheeks. Those tears that pour down your cheeks do not help your eyes and are wasted. A short time later, your eyes will become slightly dry and irritated again, and the whole process may repeat itself.
Dry Eye Treatment
After a comprehensive evaluation of your ocular health, current medications, general health and lifestyle, our doctors will make treatment recommendations to limit your symptoms and improve your visual welfare. Chronic Dry Eyes require treatment to prevent infections, blurred vision, and possible long-term scarring. Current modes of therapy may include:
- Over-the-counter artificial tears or lubricants
- Tear duct plugs
- Prescription Medications
- Nutritional Supplements