Dry Eye Syndrome

What is dry eye?

Dry Eye Syndrome occurs when our natural tears aren’t providing adequate lubrication for the cornea, either due to decreased/increased tear production, tear evaporation or an imbalance in the makeup of our tears.

Our tears consist of three layers: mucous, water, and then oil. They create a smooth and  clear surface to help protect our eyes from infection. They also help provide the eyelid a smooth area to glide across as they 'wipe' away any dirt or debris. Dry eye can clearly pose a risk to our ocular health as the risk of eye infection is increased. Moreover, it is common to to experience damage to the eye surface, resulting in inflammation, abrasion, corneal ulcers, and other vision problems. 

You may be experiencing dry eye if you have any of the following: Eye burning, itching, eye fatigue, slight blur, grittiness, excess tearing, foreign body sensation. You must see an optometrist/ophthalmologist if you have any of these symptoms, as dry eye syndrome is not the only diagnosis linked to these issues.

So who is at risk? Well, generally older adults (50+) are at a greater risk due to decreased tear production as we get older. Women can also more susceptible due to the hormonal changes, menopause, birth control and pregnancy. Contact lens wearers are also at an increased risk, with the prolonged use of lenses being amongst some of the reasons. Also those with health conditions such as lupus, Sjodren's, diabetes, thyroid diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis, are at an increased risk. Medications such as anti-histamines, anti-depressants, or birth control pills can also increase risk.

So how do we treat it, and how can I be preventative?

As an optometry and ophthalmology office our first line of treatment is usually artificial tears. We typically recommend Oasis tears which can be purchased directly from our office. We also recommend punctal plugs. These are placed into the puncta of your eyelids and act as a 'stopper' to allow your year's to stay on your eye much longer. Typically these last for 3 months. Finally we may explore prescription eye drops such as Xiidra or Restasis. When we consult with you we will draw up an action plan to see what works out best for you and your condition.

If you are looking to prevent dry eye:

  1. Take breaks during long tasks that require a digital device (20-20-20 rule)
  2. Add a humidifier to your space.
  3. Avoid or quit smoking completely.
  4. Switch your contact lens modality **talk to us first!**
  5. Use artificial tears **again, talk to us!**

We hope this information helps you. Please consider making an appointment on 949-645-2250 if you feel like this relates to you, or if you would like to check your overall eye health.

 

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this blog is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. 

Author
David Greening David Greening, ABOC, BS(HONS) Ophth. Dispensing David is our resident optician, and has been in optics since 2002. He attained his Bachelor of Science degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing in Kent, England (2014). He has extensive experience, having managed his own practice for many years prior to arriving at Astorino & Associates Eye Center. He is a licensed American optician (ABOC) and is well-recognized for his quality of service, attention to detail, and patient care.

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