What is Dry Eye?


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Dry eye, or dry eye syndrome (DES), is a condition that affects millions of people. It is often a normal part of the aging process, and is more common in older people. Other causes include exposure to environmental irritants; injuries to the eye; and, certain health conditions, such as diabetes, thyroid deficiencies, autoimmune disorders (i.e., Sjogren’s Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus or HIV), Bell’s Palsy and Myasthenia Gravis.

Dry eye syndrome is literally the eye’s inability to lubricate and tear correctly. Strangely enough, some people who have dry eye syndrome actually tear excessively because the pH of their tears is altered so that their eyes feel dry and itchy.

The use of certain medications can also alter the eye’s ability to remain well lubricated. Some of the most common medications are:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-anxiety medications

Dry Eye Symptoms

eye-squareDry eye symptoms can vary from person to person. It is common for many of us to experience dry eye symptoms, but those with DES are likely to have a more severe degree of these symptoms, including:
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Blurry vision
  • Excessive watering
  • Grittiness
  • Eye fatigue

Dry Eye Treatment

Your regular eye doctor may have prescribed one or more of the following treatments for your dry eye symptoms:
  • Artificial tears
  • Long-lasting lubricating gels
  • Ointments
  • Temporary or permanent plugging of the tear ducts
  • Change in medications that can cause dry eye
  • Prescription medication for chronic, moderate to severe dry eye (e.g., Restasis)
If you have tried these treatments but are still experiencing Dry Eye Disease symptoms, like burning or gritty sensations, your eye doctor might want you to be seen at Woolfson Eye Institute.

Causes of Dry Eye

  1. Evaporative Dry Eye, which is caused by a condition known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), in which the glands that produce the oily outer layer of the tears are not functioning optimally, allowing tears to evaporate too quickly.
  2. Aqueous Deficiency, which means that the tear gland simply is not producing adequate moisture to keep the surface of the eye healthy and comfortable.

How We Can Help

Most dry eye conditions can be treated effectively by your current eye care provider. If MGD is one of the causes of your symptoms, however, you might be a good candidate for referral to Woolfson Eye Institute for treatment via a new technology called LipiFlow which might restore some of the oil glands to more normal function. Click here to learn more about MGD and how we can help.

This website provides general information & a list of our services. The information on this website is solely meant to assist you in your search for an eye specialist. You are urged to seek the advice of an eye specialist before undergoing any eye procedure. This site is intended for use only by healthy adult individuals. Any information on this website is not to be used as a substitute to seeking medical advice.