Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that affects millions of Americans. The symptoms can range from mild to debilitating. Here are some frequently asked questions about dry eye syndrome.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry Eye syndrome is a condition when tears cannot provide adequate moisture for the eyes. This is a result of the eye’s inability to produce enough tears or poor quality of tears.
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry Eye can occur because of a number of reasons. Some are:
- Age – As you get older, dry eye becomes more prominent especially in those over the age of 65.
- Gender – Women are more like to develop dry eyes because of hormonal changes during pregnancy, menopause and frequent use of contraceptives.
- Medication – Certain medication can reduce the amount of tears produced in the eyes.
- Medical conditions – Some medical conditions such as diabetes can cause dry eyes. Dry eye symptoms can also be the result of systemic diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Environmental conditions – Exposure to smoke, wind and dry climates can cause dry eyes because of tear evaporation.
What are the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome?
Symptoms of Dry Eye include:
- Persistent dryness
- Persistent itching
- Eye redness
- Burning sensation
- A foreign body sensation (a feeling that something is in the eye)
How is Dry Eye Syndrome Diagnosed?
Dry Eye is diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam.
- The patient history is used to determine how health problems, medication or environment factors could be contributing to the symptoms
- External exam of the eye
- A bright light with magnification to examine the eyelids and cornea
- Use of a dye to check the quantity and quality of eyes.
How can Dry Eye Syndrome be treated?
- Lubricating eye drops such as artificial tears can be effective at helping relieve dry eye symptoms.
- Prescription eye drops such as Restasis help the eye produce more tears by reducing inflammation often associated with dry eyes.
- Punctal plugs are tiny plugs that are placed in each tear duct to prevent rapid drainage of tears in the eye. The plugs help give the eye regular lubrication relieving dry eye symptoms.
- Omega fatty acids such as Flax Seed Oil and Fish Oil can be very effective at improving the quality of tears produced by the eyes.
- If dry eyes are caused by medication, a medication switch may be recommended.
- In serious cases, surgical cautery may be advised to permanently close the tear duct.
It is crucial that you visit your eye doctor if you experience any of these symptoms for proper diagnosis. Visit the Raleigh Eye Center online to make an appointment.