Dry Eye Syndrome is a chronic condition that affects a large percentage of our population. Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome include burning, dryness, tearing, foreign body sensation, redness, itching, blurred vision, eye pain, pressure sensation, eye fatigue, etc. Dry Eye Syndrome is caused by either a decreased production in tears or a disruption to the stability of the complex tear film. Not all patients with Dry Eye Syndrome produce less tears, so an alternate name for this disorder is called Dysfunctional Tear Syndrome.
CAUSES OF DRY EYE SYNDROME
Dry Eye Syndrome becomes more common as we age and affects females more than males. Dry Eye Syndrome is caused by chronic inflammatory changes of the tear producing glands and surfaces of the eye. Causes of Dry Eye Syndrome include:
- Aging, hormonal changes associated with menopause
- Systemic conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome
- Oral medications including diuretics, allergy medications, antidepressants, etc.
- Contact lens wear
- Environment (Ceiling fan, heaters, prolonged computer use, etc)
TREATMENT OF DRY EYE SYNDROME
Dry Eye Syndrome is a chronic disease that ranges from causing mild to severe symptoms. The goal of treatment is to reduce the underlying inflammation and minimize the presence of symptoms. Treatments include:
- Artificial tears
- Oral Omega-3 supplement (High quantity and good absorption are necessary)
- Medication eye drops
- Punctal plugs – Small barely visible plugs that block the tear drainage system of the eyelids so more tears can stay on the surface of the eyes.
- Modifications of environment (Less contact lens wear, reduce ceiling fan use, drink proper amounts of water, humidifier use, etc)
- Treatment of blepharitis