Dry Eye Syndrome
The eye has a tear film that coats the outer layer of the eye. This tear film is very important for the lubrication and comfort of the eye, as well as for the clarity of vision. As we age, this protective tear film diminishes, leaving the eye more exposed to the drying effects of the air, wind, and dust.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
Dry eyes are not caused by a lack of tear production. In fact, when you are regularly experiencing dry eyes, the eyes can still make so many tears that many patients complain of wet eyes and tearing with this malady. The reason? Dryness causes the eye to produce more tears in an effort to replace the depleted tear film. Dry eyes are probably one of the most common problems seen in the eye doctor’s office.
Symptoms of Dry Eyes
Dry eye symptoms include burning, stinging, or a gritty sensation which may come and go depending on many factors. Itching, tearing, and light sensitivity may also occur. Occasionally long strings of mucus can be stretched from a dry eye, too.
Blinking is very important for the maintenance of the tear film. When performing activities such as reading or computer work, we blink less frequently. This aggravates the symptoms of dry eyes. Sometimes environmental factors can also increase dry eye symptoms.
Treatment for Dry Eyes
Treatment helps most patients who are suffering from dry eyes. We cannot cure this condition, so treatment is an ongoing project. Usually artificial tears, available over-the-counter, soothe the eyes and give temporary relief. These artificial tears work for only an hour or two, at best, and must be repeated at frequent intervals. Ointments last longer, but they blur vision and are most effective at night.
Newer techniques to treat dry eye include drug therapy like Restasis® to improve tear quality and/or punctal plugs, which block the tear duct. These plugs can be placed in the two tear ducts, top and bottom, in both eyes or in only the lower ducts. Some test plugs are also available which dissolve a few days after insertion. If the dry eye symptoms disappear from the temporary plugs, then permanent plugs should be considered as a viable dry eyes treatment.
In just one visit to our professional eye care center, we can pair you with an effective dry eyes treatment to achieve eye health. To learn more about Restasis® as a possible treatment option, you can visit their website by clicking on the button below.
For more information about dry eyes and available treatment, contact our Overland Park, Kansas, eye center by calling (913) 345-2020.
Proudly serving the Kansas City and Overland Park communities.