Dry Eye is a condition that occurs when there is inadequate lubrication of the eye surface. Symptoms are typically irritation of the eye surface. Symptoms are typically irritation, burning or stinging (even with application of eye drops). Individuals over 50, contact lenses wears, or persons affected by autoimmune disease including Rheumatoid Arthritis are the most likely to experience dry eye. Women are more frequently affected than men.
Tears are composed of water, oil and mucus. An imbalance of these three components can result in dry eyes. Additional factors causing dry eye are increased tear evaporation with we do open or poorly closing eyelids, wind, or staring at the computer with less frequent blinking. Medications that cause drying of the eye include antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants and sometimes birth control pills. LASIK (Laser Vision Correction) exacerbates dry eye. An exam of the eye for dry eye includes assessment of eyelid position, blinking frequency, tear volume, and tear functional quality, as well as, drying of the conjunctional – corneal surface.
How is dry eye treated?
- Artificial Tears/ Gels/ Ointment: There are many variations in components and these need to be individual to the patients current condition.
- Low Dose Steroid Eye Drops: Useful short term when an inflammation component is detected, including blepharitis.
- Restasis ™ (Cyclosporin eyedrops): to reduce inflammation and promote increased tear production.
- Punctal Plugs: Tiny plugs in the lower / and or upper tear duct drain opening to keep more tears from being drained from the eye.
- Repositioning: of malpositioned or poorly closing eyelids.