With more than 20-30 million people in the U.S. being affected by Dry Eye Disease,
the month of July has been declared National Dry Eye Awareness month by the
nation´s optometric and ophthalmic communities.
Dry eye is a chronic inflammatory disease of the ocular surface, or front of the eye,
which occurs when a person doesn´t have enough tears to adequately lubricate the eye.
Tears are critical because they keep the front of the eyes (corneas) moisturized, allowing you to see clearly.
They also help clear away debris and protect the eyes from infections.
Every time we blink, tears spread across the front of the eyes.
Excess tears flow into small drainage ducts in the corners of the eyelids.
Dry eye occurs when people do not produce enough tears or the quality of the tears is poor.
It can also occur as a result of tear production and drainage not being in balance.
What Cause Dry Eye?
There are many factors associated with dry eye including:
Dry eyes are a part of the natural aging process,
and the majority of adults over the age of 65 experience some symptoms of it.
Women over 40 comprise one of the larger populations of people to be affected with dry eye.
This, in part, is due to hormonal changes such as menopause.
People with disorders such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid problems are more likely
to experience symptoms of dry eye.
Certain medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications and antidepressants,
can reduce tear production and cause dry eye.
Prior eye surgery:
Refractive surgeries, such as LASIK, can decrease tear production and contribute toward dry eye.
Contact lens wear:
Long-term use of contact lenses can cause dry eye symptoms.
Digital device use:
Extended periods of digital device use can cause symptoms of dry eye due to incomplete blinks
and a reduced rate of blinking.
People with dry eye may experience the following symptoms with their eyes:
Grittiness (like there is sand in the eyes)
Feeling that something is in the eye(s)
Advanced dry eyes may damage the front surface of the eye resulting in impaired vision.
How is Dry Eye Diagnosed?
Dry eye can be found during a comprehensive eye exam. However, the doctors at the Dry Eye Center have access to
advanced technologies that enable them to test the quality and quantity of a personâ€™s tears, as well as the overall
health of the ocular surface.
Although some patients may find relief by self treating with over-the-counter (OTC) drops, their Dry Eye Disease
may continue to progress, even though they feel better. Â It is important to visit your eye doctor before self
medicating. Â OTC eyedrops may hide signs of Dry Eye Disease, making the diagnosis more difficult.
And in some cases, OTC drops can worsen the condition.
We seek to identify the underlying causes of each patient´s dry eye condition and then formulate a
customized treatment plan. Treatments may include:
Minor surgical procedures such as punctal occlusion
(insertion of small plug into puncta, slowing down how quickly tears drain from the eyes)