Dry Eye Syndrome

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

It is a common chronic condition affecting about 15% of the population. It consists of a collection of eye symptoms including dryness, tearing, irritation, itchiness, light sensitivity, burning, redness, eye fatigue, stinging, grittiness, intermittent blurring, foreign body sensation and increased mucous production. Symptoms are often worse towards the end of the day and with prolonged reading, TV or computer work or driving.

What causes Dry Eye Syndrome?

Normally the eye produces a healthy amount of tears to coat the eye all day long. If the eye is irritated or we cry for other reasons, the lacrimal gland gushes extra tears. With Dry Eye Syndrome the balance is wrong. Either the tears are of poor quality or not enough are made to keep the eye comfortable. Some causes are aging, environmental causes such as smoke, dry air, extensive intense eye use as noted above, blepharitis, Sjorgren’s Syndrome and certain medications such as antihistamines ,decongestants, antidepressants, diuretics, blood pressure pills and chronic eye drop use for other conditions. Contact lens use may aggravate dry eyes.

What is the treatment for dry eyes?

There is no cure for dry eyes but the symptoms can be improved with treatment.

  1. Improve environmental causes such as increasing humidity, decreasing smoke, directing vents away from your face, thoroughly removing eye make up at night and BLINK frequently.
  2. Use of ocular lubricants regularly, i.e. 2-4 times a day. This includes both tear drop supplements, liquigels, gels and ointment at bedtime if necessary. Preservative-free drops are also available if frequency of use needs to be more than four times a day.
  3. If you have blepharitis this should be treated.
  4. Rarely oral medications or punctual plugs may be required.
  5. Omega 3 fatty acid supplements as well as flaxseed oil and fish oils have recently been recommended to improve dry eye symptoms.
  6. Discontinue daily contact lens wear.