What Is It?
Dry Eye Syndrome is a condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eyes. Either there are not enough tears or the tears are of poor quality. Common, often chronic, particularly in older adults, and may cause chronic redness to the white part of the eyes.
Who Gets It?
- Older Individuals- Tear production decreases with age
- Female- Due to hormonal changes, use of oral contraceptives and menopause
- Side Effects of Medications- Antihistamine, Decongestants, Blood Pressure medications, Diuretics and Antidepressants
- Medical Conditions-Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes, Lupus, Thyroid conditions, Stroke Patients, Fibromyalgia
- Environment- Smoke, wind, dust, debris in work conditions, dry climates
- Dehydration- Too much caffeine, not enough water
- Failure to blink when performing near task (tablets, phones, e-readers, computers)
- Contact lens wear or Lasik surgery
Is it a Serious Condition?
In most cases, Dry Eye is not a serious condition. However, in moderate to severe cases it may make a person more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections of the eye. Some of these infections can cause scarring of the cornea and long term visual decline. In addition, Dry Eye can affect vision by general blurriness and visual distortion. Depending on one’s profession, this may or may not be serious. For such professions that rely on vision to make life or death decisions, namely soldiers, firefighters, policemen and women, EMTs, trauma nurses, and surgeons of all types, dry eye is a very serious complication. If these professionals can’t see clearly, they can’t perform their jobs to the best of their ability. Other patients with even mild to moderate Dry Eye may have every aspect of their lives affected in terms of their ability to work, use a computer, read, take a test, or ride comfortably in a car or plane. Comfortable, clear vision is a tremendous factor in today’s fast paced visually demanding world.
Adding Tears to the Tear Film- Ask your doctor as not all tear supplements are made the same in terms of viscosity, preservatives and healing properties.
Conserving Tears -Keeping the tears in the eye longer.
- Punctual Occlusion- block some not all tears from draining out of the eye
- Surgical Occlusion- Partial, but permanent blockage of tears leaving the eye
- Sunglasses- Wrapped sunglasses to prevent sun and wind exposure
- Goggles- Motor sports, skiing, soccer, baseball goggles to prevent dust and dehydration
Increasing Tear Production
- Prescription Eye Drops
- Vitamins specifically formulated to decrease inflammation in the eye to allow you to produce more of your own tears