Dry eye disease clinic

 

What is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that affects millions of Americans - women more often than men. In some instances, it is characterized by dry, irritated eyes due to a lack of lubricating tears. Surprisingly, it can also lead to excessively watery eyes due to tears lacking the proper balance of mucous, water, and oil to coat the eyes properly. Chronic dry eye can lead to damage of the eye’s surface, an increased risk of eye infections, and eventually, the inability to produce tears. Left untreated, severe forms of dry eye can even damage your vision.

How do I know if I have dry eye syndrome?

Symptoms of dry eyes may include burning and stinging. A foreign body sensation, like sand being in the eye, is often encountered. Vision can be blurred. Reflex tearing may be triggered causing excessively watery eyes. Sometimes, redness of the eye is experienced. When looking in a mirror, the eyes may seem to have lost their normal clearness and luster.

Take the dry eye disease patient quiz
Complete the dry eye disease patient questionnaire

 

What causes dry eye syndrome?

Environment

Sunny, dry, or windy weather, heaters, air conditioners, and arid high altitudes increase the evaporation of tears from the surface of your eyes. You may experience dry eye symptoms while viewing television, computer screens, or while reading.

Tear Drainage

If you have too much tear drainage, you may experience dry eye symptoms and related congestion of the nose, throat, and sinuses.

Gland dysfunction

Tear production is regulated by glands in the eyes. If these glands are blocked or nor working properly, your eyes will not be able to produce healthy tears. Some treatments target these glands to get them working properly. Malfunctions of the meibomian glands are often cause dry eye disease. These glands normally secrete and oily substance that forms the lipid layer of healthy tear film. If this layer is deficient, tears evaporate from the surface of the eye too quickly, causing eyes to dry out. Assessing the health of the meibomian glands is an important part of the dry eye examinations that we perform on patents with suspected dry eye disease.

Contact Lens Wear

Contact lens wear increases tear evaporation and related dry eye symptoms. Dryness may result in protein deposits on the lens, eye irritation, pain, infection, or sensitivity to contact lens solutions. Dry eye symptoms are the number one reason people stop wearing contact lenses.

Aging

Tear production gradually decreases with age. At age 65, the tear glands produce about 40 percent of the lubricating tears they produced at age 18. Decreased tear production may cause eye irritation and excess tearing or watery eyes.

Medications

Tear production may be reduced if you take certain medications, including decongestants, antihistamines, oral contraceptives, tranquilizers, and diuretics. If you are taking any medication, ask your doctor if it contributes to your dry eye condition.

Health Problems

Some special health problems can result in side effects of dry eye syndrome, such as arthritis, diabetes, thyroid abnormality, asthma, or an autoimmune condition known as Sjörgren’s Syndrome, which affects mostly middle-aged women. Also, women experiencing hormonal changes, such as pregnancy or menopause, may contract dry eye.

Can dry eye syndrome affect my ability to wear contact lenses?

Yes. Dry Eye Syndrome is the leading cause of contact lens intolerance or discomfort. Contacts can cause tears to evaporate from the eyes causing irritation, protein deposits, infection, and pain.

How is dry eye syndrome treated?

Common treatment of dry eye syndrome includes the use of artificial tears or artificial tear ointments. Prescription treatment options are available.
Other treatments for dry eye syndrome include the following: 

 

Dry eye syndrome

More information on dry eye disease syndrome

The impact of dry eye disease on reading in the elderly
October 30, 2013

The relationship between dry eye syndrome and pain sensitivity
August 16, 2013

Dry eye and contact lens wear - ethnic differences: Asians have worse dry eye symptoms
July 30, 2013

Dry eye disease is worse in people with diabetes
July 3, 2013

Can dry eye lead to other serious eye problems if untreated?
November 11, 2012

Digital eye strain - who's at risk? - See For Life
Oct 13, 2012

Dry eye syndrome hurts work productivity
October 31, 2013

Common medications that can make your eyes dry
July 17, 2013

The basic facts about dry eye syndrome - See For Life
Apr 05, 2012

Depressed? Anxious? Maybe your eyes are too dry ... - See For Life
Apr 20, 2012

Women, already the worst sufferers of dry eye, make it worse with makeup
Apr 06, 2012

68% of women say that over-the-counter eye drops don't work for dry  eye syndrome
Apr 28, 2012

Menopausal women are at high risk of developing dry eye disease
Apr 27, 2012

Can Caffeine improve dry eye disease?

A new study looks at the affect of caffeine consumption on tear production. Read more...

 

New study links dry eye disease in kids to smartphone use

Video display use in children is linked to dry eye disease

A recent study on smartphone use by children and dry eye disease was published in the Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.

The study concluded that  smartphone use is an important dry eye disease risk factor in children. Doctors and parents are advised to monitor and exercise and caution regarding children's use of video display terminals, especially smartphones. Other factors may contribute to dry eye disease. A comprehensive eye exam is needed for a proper diagnosis. Click to learn more.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is one of the major causes of chronic dry eye. Click to learn more.