Dry Eye Evaluation
Millions of people suffer from dry eyes. The dry eye syndrome is one of the most chronic and common problems we treat at our office. This syndrome describes a condition in which the front of the eye becomes dry. This condition affects people of all ages and gender, especially post-menopausal women. Common symptoms of a dry eye include a burning discomfort, a sandy, gritty feeling or a foreign body sensation. These dry eye symptoms usually worsen in climates that are hot and dry. Environments with air conditioning, heat, smoke, or wind will also irritate the eyes.
People who use the computer most of the day will suffer from a “staring syndrome,” which reduces the number of times they blink per minute. People only blink 21 times per minute on average. However, when a person concentrates on a computer and stares, the eyes blink only 7 times per minute. This reduction in blinking will cause the eye to become dry. As a result, people will complain of excess tearing called “reflex tearing,” which is directly caused by the dry eye irritation.
The tear film is composed of 3 layers: Oil, water, and mucous. A deficiency of one or more of these layers can cause a dry eye. Oil and/ or water deficiency is the most common cause of a dry eye and the most common reason why patients have difficulty wearing contact lenses.
Top –––––––––––––––– Oil
Middle –––––––––––––– Water
Bottom ––––––––––––– Mucin
A dry eye syndrome can result from the following:
- Decrease in tear production -- deficiency in the tear layer
- Increase in tear evaporation – deficiency in the oil layer
- Increase in tear drainage from the eye
Usually the dry eye is associated with a deficiency in the tear film. The dry eye syndrome can exist as a primary problem, but often times it is secondary to medical conditions (i.e. rheumatoid arthritis), medications, contact lenses, or living/ working environments. Other conditions such as blepharitis and meibomianitis will cause the eyes to be dry. Treatment will then be directed towards treating and managing blepharitis and meibomianitis.
There are many forms of treatment for dry eyes. The treatment depends on the severity of the dry eyes and the symptoms that patients have.
These are some of the treatments available for dry eyes:
- Non-preservative artificial tears
- Higher viscosity non-preservative artificial tears
- Eye ointment
- Lid hygiene to treat blepharitis
- Warm compress, massage, and lid hygiene to treat meibomianitis
- Oral neutraceuticals (vitamins)
- Prescription eye drops
- Punctal occlusion
- Bandage contact lenses
- Changing dietary habits
- Increase in water intake
Eliminate your symptoms of dry eyes… call and make your appointment today!