Dry eye is a common condition in which the eyes are insufficiently lubricated, leading to itching, redness and pain. The eyes can become dry and irritated because the tear ducts are not producing a sufficient number of tears, or because there is a chemical imbalance in the tears themselves. Natural tears require a particular chemical balance to lubricate the eyes efficiently.
Dry eye is a condition that causes your eyes to feel as though there is an irritant present. The cause for this irritation is that the eyes are not producing the required fluid that needs to be covering the eyes. Normal healthy eyes are being continuously covered by a thin tear film. This film allows people to be able to see more clearly. Treatment of dry eyes aims to restore a more normal tear film to minimize your dryness, blurred vision and irritations.
Persistent irritations to one or both of your eyes might be a cause of dry eye. A decreased tolerance to contact lenses is a common symptom as well. Symptoms do vary from patient to patient when it comes to dry eyes. Most patients say they suffer from the feeling that there is something in their eye that is unobtainable to get out. If you have any of the following symptoms listed, you may be suffering from dry eye.
If you have any of the following symptoms listed, you may be suffering from dry eye.
Scratchy and burning feeling in the eyes
Heightened sensitivity to smoke or wind in the eyes
Tired eyes from reading or trying to focus on an object
Becoming intolerant to contact lenses
Tearing, watery eyes
Sensitivity to light
Causes of Dry Eyes
- Women > Men
- Hormone changes with pregnancy and menopause
- Oral contraceptives
- Blood-pressure medications
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjögren’s syndrome
- Thyroid disease
- Autoimmune diseases
- Environmental conditions such as smoke, wind or excessive sun
- Long-term contact lens use
- Eye injury
- Eye or eyelid surgery
- Inflammation of the eye (conjunctivitis or keratitis)
Any of these factors, alone or in combination, can affect the frequency or consistency of tears, either of which can lead to dry eye.
The quality of the tear film is directly related to the quality of tears that your eyes are producing. The tear film is made up of three separate layers: Oils containing lipids act as the outer layer, water is the thickest layer and is in the middle, and the last layer is the inner layer of mucus which allows the tears to spread evenly over the eye. The lack of tear production can also lead to Dry Eyes in the later stages of life. Decreases in tear production may be a result of a LASIK procedure. Having trouble blinking may cause your eyes to dry. Environmental factors such as wind, pollution, sun, and dry air inside homes or offices definitely affect the eyes, but especially in a patient with dry eyes. Patients usually do not produce enough natural tears to offset these and other environmental irritants.
If you feel as though you may be suffering from Dry Eye you may seek to have your eyes tested. Your eye doctor will ask you a series of questions about your lifestyle, work and home environments, work requirements, and even nutrition habits so that they can begin to make a general assessment. Often he or she will measure your tear volume or tear production using one of several tests. These tests may include the “Schimers Tear Test” which a strip is placed under your eyelids to see how much tears are absorbed. Dr. Perozek does not find the Schirmers Tear Test helpful. Other tests include a series of dyes to determine the surface conditions of your eyes and to determine how long it takes for your eyes to evaporate the tears. These tests determine the degree of dryness and the location of the dryness on the eyes.
Treatment Of DRY EYE
Dry eye can damage eye tissues, leaving tiny abrasions on the surface that can impair vision. There are, however, many treatments for relieving dry-eye symptoms, restoring eye health and protecting vision.
Treatment for dry eye depends on its cause and severity, as well as the patient’s overall health and personal preference.
- Deliberately blinking
- Increasing humidity levels at home or work
Using artificial tears or a lubricating ointment. SEE RIGHT NOW with TIMOTHY PEROZEK has equivalent but less expensive drops and ointment available at the office.
- Avoiding environmental irritants
- Eliminating medications that may be responsible
Adding Omega-3 fatty acids to the diet or taking them as supplements . SEE RIGHT NOW with TIMOTHY PEROZEK has equivalent but less expensive omega-3 fatty acids available at the office. SEE RIGHT NOW with TIMOTHY PEROZEK has all types of sunglasses and wind blockers available at the office. BlephEX in office procedure to clean away the biofilm that clogs the natural oil glands which then prevents the oil from coating your tears such that your tears evaporate.
- Warm Compresses
- LipidFlow treatment
- Insertion of punctal plugs to limit tear drainage
- Punctal cautery to permanently close the drainage holes
- Treatment of an underlying disease
If an eyelid condition is causing dry eye, eyelid surgery may be recommended. If dry eye is left untreated, it can lead to complications that include pain, corneal ulcers/scars or vision loss. Make an appointment with SEE RIGHT NOW with TIMOTHY PEROZEK, MD to be evaluated and to start the process of making your eyes feel better.