Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye disease is a lack of tear production and moisture on the surface of the eye which can decrease the quality of your vision and overall comfort. Due to the eye becoming dehydrated , inflammation sets in and compromises the tear production and corneal integrity. The epithelial cells can breakdown and erode resulting in lid infections, styes, corneal ulcers, and corneal erosion. Early symptoms of dry eye include: fluctuating or blurred vision, excessive tearing, burning/stinging, gritty or sandy sensation, and the feeling something foreign is in your eye.

Unfortunately, this condition is often misdiagnosed and it’s effect on the quality and comfort of vision is often underestimated by the medical provider. Detecting the underlying cause is essential for the successful treatment of dry eyes. The time rendered and expertise of the doctor, in conjunction with the use of modern technology, is important in determining the best course of treatment for each individual.

Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome can vary depending on the severity of the condition but can include:

  • Burning or itching sensation
  • Sandy/gritting feeling
  • Contact lens discomfort
  • Redness
  • Fluctuation of vision
  • Excessive tearing
  • Light sensitivity
  • Eye pain or soreness

The main function of tears is to maintain the health of the cornea of your eye by washing away foreign matter and ensuring that the surface of your eye remains moist, smooth and clear. Tears also rinse away dust particles from your eyes and contain enzymes that protect your eyes from bacteria that can cause infections. Dry eyes is a condition that develops when the amount of tears produced is not sufficient to maintain the moisture balance in your eye. This can result in that scratchy sensation, a continuous feeling of dryness, stinging and a sensation of a foreign body in your eye. Ironically in an effort to fight off the condition, dry eyes can cause you to produce excessive tears, which is why some people experience watery eyes.

Risk Factors

  • Age: 75% of the population 65yrs and older experience dry eye syndrome
  • Medications: Anti-Depressants, Decongestants, Antihistamines, Blood Pressure Medication, Oral Contraceptives, Diuretics, Ulcer Medication, Tranquilizers, and Beta Blockers are some of the medications that decrease the body’s ability to produce quality, lubricating tears.
  • Environmental conditions: Unfortunately being exposed to every day environmental factors such as pollution, smoke, wind, air conditioning, “Arizona’s dry heat climate”, and florescent lights can evaporate tears.
  • Disease: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes, Thyroid Abnormality, Asthma, Cataracts, Glaucoma, Lupus and Rosacea are just a few of the conditions that can contribute to dry eye symptoms
  • Refractive surgery: Candidates thinking of having Lasik, RK, PRK, or LTK procedures should consult with their eyecare professional regarding the risk factors for dry eye syndrome associated with the surgery.
  • Computer or gaming usage: In most cases, a person who stares at a computer for more that 1 hour a day reduces the amount of blinking by 70%. Blinking is a vital function in tear production, by ignoring blinking you eyes will be compromised regardless of age.

Diagnosis of Dry Eye Disease

Typically, dry eye disease can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam and a description of your symptoms. On some occasions the eye doctor might decide to do a test that measures how quickly your tears evaporate from the surface of your eye. By instilling a simple dye called fluorescein (much like food coloring) the doctor is able to watch and count how long it takes the tears to start to break up after they’ve asked you to hold your eyes open after a blink. This is called TBUT or a Tear Break Up Time test. A low TBUT generally indicates a lipid (aka oil) deficiency in the tears resulting from oil glands in the eyelids not functioning properly. In another type of test, called a Schirmer test, a strip of filter paper is placed under the lid of the eye and you will be asked to close your eye for five minutes. Following the test the amount of moisture on the strip will be measured. Schirmer tests are performed less frequently than a TBUT test.

Treatment for Dry Eyes

Depending on the complexity and type of dry eyes you have, our optometrists will find the best method of treatment for each particular case. Our goal is to restore your all day comfort, crisp vision , and overall eye health.

Call our office: 602-404-2005 to start your evaluation today.

Featured Articles

Read up on informative topics

    Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

    Similar to a bruise under the skin, a subconjunctival hemorrhage happens when a small blood vessel located between the sclera (white portion of an eye...

    Read More

    Decorative (Plano) Contact Lenses

    Colored contact lenses allow you to temporarily change your eye color whether or not you need to correct impaired vision. In this way, you can create ...

    Read More

    Wandering Eye

    A wandering eye is a type of eye condition known as strabismus or tropia, and it may be caused by damage to the retina or muscles that control the eye...

    Read More

    Reading and Writing

    For many adults, reading and writing come so naturally that they seem almost effortless. However, reading and writing are actually complicated skills ...

    Read More

    Lazy Eye

    Lazy eye, also referred to as amblyopia, is a condition that develops in infancy or early childhood, and it typically starts when the focus in one eye...

    Read More

    Dyslexia

    Dyslexia When a child has difficulty reading due to problems recognizing speech sounds and learning how they connect to words and letters, the conditi...

    Read More

    Crossed Eyes

    Crossed eyes, also known as strabismus, refer to a condition in which both eyes do not look at the same place at the same time. Often times they both ...

    Read More

    Autism

    Symptoms and Problems Caused By Autism Autism is a neurological disorder in which the person has difficulty processing and reacting to information rec...

    Read More

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you

Locations

Find us on the map