What is Dry Eye?
The eyes make two types of tears. The first type is called lubricating tears, and they are produced slowly and steadily all through the day. The second type of tears is called reflex tears. They don’t have much lubrication value, instead functioning as emergency flooding of the eye when it is injured or irritated. If you get a bug in your eye or are around smoke, those are reflex tears.
There is one other way your body will create reflex tears — when the eye is not producing enough lubricating tears. This is a condition known as dry eye. At Central Valley Eye Medical Group, we have various methods for treating dry eye.
What are the symptoms of dry eye?
Dry eye has these symptoms:
- Watery eyes
- Feeling of grit in the eyes
- Eyes that itch and burn
- Vision that becomes blurred after periods of reading, watching TV, or using a computer
- Red, irritated eyes that create a mucus discharge
What causes dry eye?
- Age — As we get older, glands in our eyelids produce less oil. Oil is needed to keep tears from evaporating, so without that oil, the tears dry up faster.
- Hormonal changes — This is especially true for women after menopause.
- Prescription medications — Certain medications such as high blood pressure medications, antihistamines, diuretics, anti-anxiety drugs, sleeping pills, pain medications, and antidepressants cause dry eye.
- The use of contact lenses.
- Hot, dry, or windy conditions and high altitudes.
- Eye surgery — this includes LASIK.
- Reading or up-close use of your eyes.
How we treat dry eye
The most common treatment is for the patient to supplement his or her tears with artificial tears. Artificial tears come in liquid form, gel, or ointment. The ointment is usually recommended for nighttime use. Artificial tears provide the oil and lubrication not being produced by your eye. They only alleviate symptoms, however, and don’t correct the condition.
If your dry eye is due to infected or inflamed eyelids, or from clogged oil glands, we may use antibiotics and special lid cleaning techniques to reduce the inflammation and get the glands open again.
Restasis® is a prescription eye drop that helps the eye to produce more tears by reducing inflammation. Restasis® treats the cause of dry eye.
Punctal occlusion is a procedure where we insert plugs into the tear drainage area of the patient’s eyes. These plugs keep the tears in the eyes longer.
If you have the symptoms of dry eye, call the team at Central Valley Eye Medical Group, 800-244-9907. We can help.
Posted in: Dry Eyes