Dry-eye syndrome occurs when the quality and/or quantity fails to keep the eye surface properly lubricated.. This is a syndrome that is chronic and often progressive.
The symptoms of dry eye disease are quite numerous. You may suffer stinging or burning of the eyes, as well as itchiness and redness, or blurred vision. Your eyes may feel watery or feel like you have a foreign body in your eye that you can’t remove. It is obvious from this list of symptoms and signs that not everyone experiences dry eye syndrome in the same way.
There are an equal number of causes that range from aging to prolonged use of a computer or similar devices. Sometimes the cause may simply be low humidity or cold weather, but even high winds can provoke signs of dry eye. Hormonal changes can instigate dry eye as well as contracting an autoimmune disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis. Prolonged contact lens wearing can also be a culprit. Unfortunately, women are much more likely to experience dry eye syndrome than men.
The good news is researchers continue to find interventions that will offset the symptoms. Of course, most sufferers turn to over-the-counter relief in the form of eye drops. This may be a temporary help, but ultimately you should see an optometrist in order to develop a long-term approach to addressing the issue. These may include any of the following:
- Topical cyclosporine A eye drops (Restasis). This treatment is not always immediately effective. In fact, some optometrists will caution that it may take several months before the patient senses relief.
- Artificial teardrops and ointments. This treatment provides almost immediate relief, but it doesn’t offer long-term results. The patient will still need to find the proper diagnosis for the underlying cause.
- Temporary punctal occlusion. This is a temporary plugging of the tear duct.
- Permanent punctal occlusion. This is permanently plugging the tear ducts.
- Surgery. This is a last resort and may involve a variety of options.
If you think you are suffering from dry-eye syndrome we invite you to make an appointment with the professionals at Island Eyecare. Our aim is your healthy vision.