Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is one the most commonly treated problems in our office. The tears your eyes produce are necessary for overall eye health and clear vision. DES means that your eyes do not produce enough tears or that you produce tears which do not have the proper chemical composition.

Often, dry eye is part of the natural aging process. It can also be caused by blinking or eyelid problems, medications like antihistamines, oral contraceptives and antidepressants, a dry climate, wind and dust, general health problems like arthritis or Sjogren’s Syndrome and chemical or thermal burns to your eyes.

dry eye diagramIf you have DES, your symptoms may include irritated, scratchy, dry, uncomfortable or red eyes, a burning sensation or the feeling of something foreign in your eyes and blurred vision. Excessive dry eyes may damage eye tissue, scar your cornea (the front covering of your eyes) and impair vision and make contact lens wear difficult.

If you have symptoms of DES, see your eye doctor for a comprehensive examination. Dry eye cannot be cured, but your optometrist can prescribe treatment so your eyes remain healthy and your vision clear.

eye exam
Some treatments that your doctor might prescribe include blinking more frequently, increasing humidity at home or work, using artificial tears and using a moisturizing ointment, especially at bedtime. In some cases, small plugs are inserted in the drainage tubes, called the puncta, of the eyes to slow tear drainage. Surgical closure of the drainage ducts may be recommended.Excessive dry eyes may damage eye tissue, scar your cornea… and impair vision and make contact lens wear difficult.

If these treatments aren’t successful, a prescription drop has been approved for the treatment of dry eyes. This drop, called Restasis, reduces dry eye-induced inflammation allowing the body to produce its own tears naturally.

Symptoms of DES

If you have DES, your symptoms may include:

  • Irritated, scratchy, dry, uncomfortable or red eyes
  • A burning sensation
  • The feeling of something foreign in your eyes
  • Blurred vision