Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health and oxygenation of the front surface of the eye and to provide clear vision. Patients with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears, or have a poor quality tear film. Some risk factors for dry eye are dry (low humidity) environment, poor hydration, hormone changes, heredity, some medications, eyelid problems, rosacea, and contact lens wear. Dry eye is a very common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults. Common symptoms include irritated, gritty, scratchy, or burning eyes, an intermittent feeling of something in the eye, excess watering, and intermittently blurred vision. Patients with dry eyes often have to frequently blink to clear their vision, especially during focused tasks such as reading, computer use, driving, and watching television. Advanced dry eyes may damage the front surface of the eye and impair vision.

During your examination, the doctor will examine the tear film in each eye. In order to diagnose the type of dryness, special eye drop dyes may be used to help the doctor detect dry spots and to measure tear quality and volume. Treatment of dry eye may include certain over-the-counter eye drops, gels, or ointment lubricants for the eye, eyelid hygiene methods, prescription eye drops, and punctal plugs for retention of tears on the eye surface. Hydration habits and humidification of the environment are also very important when managing dry eye symptoms. If you believe you are suffering from dry eye syndrome, make an appointment with Northern Waters Ophthalmology for an evaluation.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. People with dry eye do not produce enough tears or have a poor quality of tears. Dry eye syndrome is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults. With each blink of the eyelids, tears are spread across the front surface of the eye known as the cornea.

Tears provide lubrication, reduce the risk of eye infection, wash away foreign matter in the eye, and keep the surface of the eye smooth and clear. Excess tears in the eyes flow into small drainage ducts in the inner corners of the eyelids, which drain in the back of the nose. Dry eyes can result from an improper balance of tear production and drainage.

People with dry eye syndrome may experience symptoms of irritated, scratchy, gritty or burning eyes, a feeling of something in their eyes, excess watering, or blurred vision. Advanced dry eyes may even damage the front surface of the eye and impair vision. The development of dry eyes may have many causes including age, gender, medications, medical conditions, environmental conditions, and more.

Dry eyes can be a chronic condition, but your eye doctor can prescribe treatment to keep your eyes healthy, more comfortable, and prevent your vision from being affected. Specific treatments aim to restore or maintain the normal amount of tears in the eye to minimize dryness or related discomfort and to maintain eye health. For more information, schedule a visit with your eye doctor.