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What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry Eye Syndrome occurs when there are not enough tears in your eyes, when the tears that you produce are not working well, and sometimes when a combination of these problems are present.  Symptoms of dry eye include burning, stinging, a gritty feeling, and even watery eyes.

Patients with dry eye syndrome often have red eyes and may have associated systemic conditions.  Dryness is more common in women than men, and also increases with age.  

Eyes that water excessively may also be experiencing dryness.  Although this sounds contradictory, when the quality of the tears is not satisfactory, your eyes will compensate by producing more and more- resulting in tearing eyes.

There are many treatments for dry eye, including:

  • Over-The-Counter lubricant eye drops/Artificial Tear drops.  These drops need to be used frequently throughout the day, even before the symptom of dryness is noticeable.  Similarly to using hand lotion before you have dry skin, using lubricant drops prior to situations when you know you suffer with dryness is the best way to prevent symptoms.
  • Punctal plugs are used in order to diagnose and treat dry eye.  Temporary, or dissolvable, plugs are used to see if more permanent plugs will help with your dryness symptoms.  If the temporary plugs are successful, then they are replaced by more permanant, or silicone, plugs which do not disolve.  These plugs can be removed if necessary. The plug insertion process is a very simple office procedure.
  • Restasis ophthalmic solution is a prescription eye drop which is used to increase tear production in certain dry eye patients.  It is used twice a day, every day, regardless of how dry you eyes may feel.  The benefit of this drop may take several weeks to take affect. 
  • Thermal-On Dry Eye Mask. The mask should be used two to three times a day. The heat from the mask allows the glands of the eyelids to help produce more of its own tears.

Dry eye syndrome is a common and complex set of symptoms, with many causes and treatments.  Please call our office if you have any questions, or for a dry eye evaluation. 

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