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Dry eye is a multi-factorial disease of the tears and ocular surface that results in symptoms of discomfort, visual disturbance and tear film instability with potential damage to the ocular surface. It is accompanied by increased osmolarity (concentration of salts) of the tear film and inflammation of the ocular surface.
Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) can occur when the tear glands don't produce the right quantity or quality of tears. This can result in a poor tear film that doesn’t provide enough protection to the surface of your eye. Significant damage to the ocular surface can develop.
Symptoms of DES include blurred or variable vision, sensitivity to light, pain or feelings of dryness, burning, stinging and gritty sensations. DES can result in chronic red eyes and even increase your risk of infection.
Chronic irritation to the ocular surface:
Some prescription and over-the counter medications:
Other risk factors include:
There is no cure for DES, but treatment may include lubricating drops, gels or ointments, daily eyelid hygiene procedures or a change in working environment. Ocular prescription therapies like Restasis®, increase natural tear production and may work well for certain patients. In addition, oral medications such as Doxycycline can help reduce inflammation in certain varieties of DES.
Other treatments can include the surgical blockage of tear drainage ducts (punctual occlusion), a change in diet such as increasing omega-3 essential fatty acid intake, moisture-chamber goggles or even being fit with specialty contact lenses. The doctors at the Dry Eye Center will recommend the best treatment plan for your specific type of dry eye.