Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry Eye Syndrome is a common problem seen by ophthalmologists today.
Who is at risk for dry eye?
- Women over age forty
- Women using oral contraceptives
- Patients with Rosacea or blepharitis
- Patients with a collagen vascular disease, e.g. Sjogrens, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus
- Patients with diabetes
- Patients receiving chemotherapy
- Patients with a lid disorder
- Many types of medications induce dry eyes, e.g. diuretics, antidepressants
- Prolonged reading or work on a computer
- Dry environment
- Tearing – when the eyes become dry they begin to burn. The irritation causes the large tear gland under the lid to respond by pouring copious tears onto the surface of the eye. The tearing is in response to irritation, but does not lubricate the eye effectively.
- Foreign body sensation – sandy or gravely feeling
- Tenderness under the upper lid or around the eye
- Intermittent blurred vision
- Discharge on the lids in the morning
- Blurred vision in the morning
- Increased glare at night
The primary treatment for dry eyes is the use of supplemental tears. Artificial tears must be used at a minimum of 4-6 times per day. Tears may be used as frequently as necessary even every half hour when reading or using a computer. We do not recommend the use of visine or murine products or generic brands, as these are not ideal tear preparations. Recommended brands include:
- Genteal – (mild or moderate)
If these brands irritate the eyes there are also many forms of preservative free tears.
Restasis – This is a prescription medication that has been shown to reduce the symptoms of dry eye by reducing inflammation on the eye. It has also been shown in some patients to increase the body’s own production of tears. In our experience patients will often know in two to three weeks whether the Restasis is making a difference. If it has not produced a benefit in this time frame, it should be stopped. Restasis may cause ocular irritation, if so it is not an appropriate choice.
Punctal occlusion – There are tear drains on both the upper and lower lids. Closing the lower lid drain (most tears leave the surface of the eye via the lower drain due to gravity) can increase the duration that one’s own tears or tear supplements remain on the eye. The drain can be closed temporarily using a plug, or permanently through a minor surgical intervention.
There are many other treatments available should the above not be adequate. Please consult with Manchester Ophthalmology for more.