Dry eye syndrome is a common condition in which a lack of moisture results in many different symptoms. A tear film that is composed of three layers coats the eye. A deficiency of any one of these layers can result in a lack of moisture of the corneal surface.
Common Symptoms Include:
- Gritty sensation
- Sensitivity to wind or fans
- Excessive tearing (yes, this may indicate dry eyes): Reflex tearing is a result of dry eyes. Lack of proper lubrication from the oil glands of the eyelid result in a tearing reaction.
- Difficulty wearing contacts
Dry eyes can occur in younger and older patients. It is more common in older people and women are more likely to suffer from this condition than men. Although there are many causes, commonly there is an association with prescription medication, allergy medication, blepharitis, allergies and eye exposure while sleeping.
Treatment for Dry Eyes
- The first step in therapy for mild cases includes hydrating the eye with a good artificial tear. Dr. Switch can help you decide which moisturizing agent is appropriate for your condition.
- There are several prescription medications designed to help you produce better tears and reduce inflammation. Dr. Switch will discuss the benefits and any associated risks of these medications with you if you are a candidate for this therapy.
- Environmental factors that worsen symptoms will be discussed during your exam. Using a fan at night or having the air conditioning blowing on your face in the car are some examples of an avoidable situation that worsen dry eye symptoms.
- Omega-3 fatty acid supplements may be beneficial in some cases. Dr. Switch will tell you if your dry eyes are likely to benefits from this supplement.
- Tear Conservation through the use of punctual plugs is another option for sever dry eye patients. If other therapies fail, Dr. Switch may suggest plugging the outflow of normal tears from the eye with silicone plugs that are placed in the office.