Dry Eyes

HomeDry Eyes
Many patients suffer from dry eyes. Patients often experience the following symptoms associated with dry eyes.

  • Pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Redness
  • Blurring of vision
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Excessive Tearing
  • Discomfort with Contact Lenses
Dry eyes occur when the eyes are not adequately lubricated by your natural tears. Tears consist of 3 layers: a lipid layer (oils) for lubrication, a water layer for moisture, and a mucous layer for even spreading on the tears on the surface of the eye. All of these layers are secreted by specialized glands in the eye. If any one of these three components is not in proper balance, then dry eyes can result. Sometimes when the eyes are dry, the body attempts to compensate for the dryness by producing extra tears. However, these tears are only made up water and don’t have the oils and mucous necessary to prevent evaporation of the tears.

What causes dry eyes?

Environmental conditions, changes in hormone (menopause), medications, rheumatologic disease and abnormalities of eyelids can all cause dry eyes.

How can dry eyes be treated?

There are a variety of treatment strategies for dry eyes:

1. Artificial tears/ointments

These are the least expensive and easiest first line treatment for dry eyes. Some patients will need to constantly lubricate the eye throughout the day, even if they don’t feel as though they are dry. Preservative free artificial tears are often beneficial, as preservatives can cause irritation in some patients especially if used very frequently.

2. Punctal occlusion

Punctal plugs are temporary plugs that are placed in the small opening, or puncta, where the tears normally drain into the nose. The plugs are usually made of silicone or collagen and when placed properly in the office, most patients cannot even feel them!

3. Restasis

Restasis is a drop which causes the lacrimal gland (the gland that makes tears) to produce more tears. It is a great treatment, because the patient is producing their own tears, however it takes 6 weeks to achieve an effect. Also, patients will sometimes complain of a stinging sensation.

4. Permanent punctal occlusion

For patients with very severe dry eyes, the opening for the tear drainage system can be closed permanently with surgery. The surgery is an outpatient procedure and is performed under local anesthesia.

If you think you may have dry eyes and would like a full evaluation, please call to make an appointment with our Cornea specialist, Dr. Jeff Wong.