Dry eyes occur when our tears can no longer adequately moisturize our eyes. Dry eyes feel uncomfortable by either a stinging, or gritty sensation. Common complaints are that there is a feeling of tired eyes, redness, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, or even excessive tearing. You can have dry eye for many reasons including decreased tear production of tears that are poor quality.
Dry Eye Risk Factors
- Advancing age
- Taking certain medications
- Being female (causing hormone changes)
- Having previous eye surgery
- Poor diet
Not treating dry eye may lead to the patient being susceptible to other eye infections and can even lead to scarring on the cornea in advance cases.
There are numerous treatments for dry eye that are dependent on the severity of the symptoms and clinical findings. If symptoms are mild side such as an occasional burning or gritty feeling, over the counter artificial tears are usually recommended. You typically do not want to use the over the counter drops that reduce redness because they can produce rebound redness. For moderate cases of dry eye a prescription eye drop such as Restasis can be used to reduce corneal inflammation and cause a healthier tear film overall on the cornea. In more severe cases of dry eye, putting punctual plugs or doing a laser procedure to seal the drainage of the tears from the eyes may be recommended. This will increase how long the tears are retained on the eye.
If medication that you are taking for systemic conditions are causing your dry eye, maybe the medication can be switched to one that doesn’t affect the tear film, but check with your doctor before changing any medications. If there is an abnormality of the eyelid that causes poor incomplete blinking, seeing an oculoplastic surgeon may be the solution. Underlying autoimmune disease, an example being rheumatoid arthritis, can be a significant cause of dry eye and needs to be treated systemically.
Dry eye in general tends to be a chronic condition. Sometime changes in work environment such as not sitting under an air conditioning vent or avoiding areas that there is a lot of smoke will be helpful. Otherwise seeing one of the doctor’s at the Fort Lauderdale Eye Institute would be appropriate solution to aid in the treatment of this condition.