What Causes Dry Eye?
Dry eye syndrome can occur any age, whether you are male or female. However, it is more prevalent in women, particularly after the onset of menopause. Symptoms of this chronic eye condition include a gritty sensation, stinging, blurred vision, and scratchy or red eyes that are sensitive to light. Occasionally with dry eye syndrome, you may experience watery eyes, which is your system’s way of trying to compensate for the dryness.
The primary cause of dry eye syndrome is a decreased production of tears from the small tear glands that typically produce a continuous moisturizing and lubricating secretion. These small tear glands are not the same as the larger tear glands that produce “crying tears.” In a normal eye, approximately 400 drops of tears are produced by these small tear glands every single day. As part of the natural aging process, your level of tear production declines. For instance, an average 18 year old has approximately 60 percent more tear production than an average 65-year old. Pregnancy, arthritis, Vitamin A deficiency, contact lenses, environmental issues and certain medications have also been known to cause dry eye.
Dry Eye Treatment
A complete medical eye examination at Yaldo Eye Center can help determine whether or not you have dry eye syndrome. In some instances, one or more simple tests to measure your rate of tear production may be performed.
Artificial tears are the most common initial treatment method for dry eye syndrome. While a wide range of artificial tears are available over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medications such as steroids and Restasis® can be obtained by prescription only. In some cases, a lubricating ointment is prescribed for use at bedtime. Other treatments include a change in diet to increase your intake of fish oil and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Dry eye treatment is a stepped process intended to achieve the greatest results. If artificial tears and anti-inflammatory medications do not control this chronic condition, your ophthalmologist can perform a procedure to conserve the tears that your eye naturally produces. A temporary punctual occlusion is the first step. A collagen plug, about the size of a grain of rice, is inserted into the tear drainage canals of your lower eyelids. There is no pain or discomfort and no anesthesia is required. These collagen plugs prevent between 60- 80% of your eye’s natural tears from draining into your nasal passages. After seven to ten days, the collagen plugs dissolve. If you experience relief during the temporary punctual occlusion, your vision experts may recommend non-dissolving silicone plugs or cauterizing treatment to permanently narrow the drainage canals. These procedures are performed right at Yaldo Eye Center’s on-site outpatient surgical facility.
Because an increase in fish oil and Omega-3 fatty acids can positively affect this condition, we also now offer customized nutritional supplements specially designed for dry eyes. EyeRelief™ has proven to effectively treat dry eyes, including those that occur post-Lasik surgery. Speak with one of our eye surgeons at Yaldo Eye Center about how to get customized nutritional supplements that will work for you. Click here to request more information about EyeRelief.
We also offer the latest in surgical correction of dry eyes attributed to conjunctivochalasis, a condition that causes redundancy in the covering tissue of the eye and can lead to dry eyes. Ocular surface reconstruction is performed on an outpatient basis.
If you are troubled with dry eye syndrome, our board-certified ophthalmologists at Yaldo Eye Center can help you manage or cure this common eye problem.