Dry Eye Syndrome

Tears are essential to good vision. They lubricate the eye, protect it from infections and wash away allergens.  With Dry Eye Syndrome, the eye produces too few tears, or tears of such poor quality that they don’t stay on the eye.  Ironically, some people with Dry Eye Syndrome may actually experience tears running down their cheeks.  That’s because if there are not enough tears a message is sent to the brain to produce more tears.  Unfortunately, these tears are very watery, instead of lubricating the eye they dry the eye.  Dry eyes can also be caused be the byproduct of meibomian gland dysfunction.

Everyone experiences the symptoms of dry eyes from time to time:  Burning, tearing, irritable eyes, fluctuating vision,  a feeling that something is actually scratching the eye.  While everyone experiences reduced tear production as they age, women are more prone to Dry Eye Syndrome than men by a 3 to 1 margin.  Studies have shown that hormone therapy and systemic diseases such as arthritis may increase the incidence of Dry Eye Syndrome.  It is also a side effect of other drugs such as birth control pills, blood pressure medicines, antihistamines and certain anti-depressants.

Environmental factors can magnify the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome. These include a dusty, dry or windy climate, air conditioning or heating systems (especially if the vent blows on your face), and even staring at a computer screen for extended periods of time.

Treatment

Our Doctors can offer several options for managing Dry Eye Syndrome, such as:

  • Eye drops, gels and ointments  can minimize the dry, scratchy sensation
  • Oral supplements rich in Omega 3 fish oils can stimulate tear production
  •  Restasis® drops that actually stimulate and  increase tear production
  • Temporary or permanent closure of the lacrimal (tear) ducts to keep your tears from draining away as quickly

Our Doctors can review your risk factors and customize your treatment options to suit your needs.