Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that is often caused by lack of adequate tears or an irregular tear film, which may cause a variety of symptoms including; burning, irritation, watery eyes, blurred vision and redness.Your tears are a complex mixture of water, fatty oils, and mucus. This mixture helps make the surface of your eyes smooth, clear, and helps prevent infections.
For some, the cause of dry eyes is an imbalance in the composition of their tears while others don’t produce enough tears.The causes of dry eyes include aging, menopause, hormonal changes, medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid disorders, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lulps, scleroderma, and vitamin A deficiency, previous refractive surgery such as LASIK and PRK, eyelid problems, medications to treat high blood pressure, nasal congestion, hormone imbalance, depression, and acne, radiation therapy and environmental causes like wind, dry air, computer work, reading and driving.
Treatment usually involves non-medicated artificial tears, however, if your symptoms are significant, treatment may require medical intervention and treatments such as changing medications, addressing eyelid abnormalities, medicated drops or pills and specific dry eye treatments.
- Antibiotic drops or pills help to reduce eyelid inflammation along the edge of your eyelids and helps the oil glands function.
- Medicated eyedrops to control inflammation on the surface of your eyes include the immune-suppressing medication cyclosporine (Restasis) or steroids.
- Prescription eye inserts (Lacrisert) work like slow release artificial tears that dissolves slowly and help moisten your eye.
- Blocking your tear ducts with punctual plugs helps reduce tear loss.These tiny silicone plugs conserve both your own tears and artificial tears you may add and can be removed in the future.
- Covering your eyes with a special contact lens helps protect or shield the surface of your eyes, trapping moisture close to your eyes in order to relieve your dry eyes symptoms.
- Unblocking blocked oil glands. A new treatment called Maskin Probing helps clear blocked oil glands.With this treatment, a 1 mm wire probe is used to open the tiny oil glands on the edge of the eyelid. The procedure takes about 10 minutes, and is done in the office. Results usually begin within a few days and last up to 6-12 months.