Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are very common. Dry eyes exists when the quantity or quality of the tear film is not sufficient to maintain a healthy corneal epithelium. Symptoms may include dry, red, itchy, burning or watery eyes, gritty foreign body sensation, irritation, fluctuating vision and/or pain. Inflammation is main cause.

COMMON CAUSES OF DRY EYE:

  • Environment: Sunny, dry, or windy weather, heaters, air conditions and high altitudes increase the evaporation of tears from the surface of your eyes.  Extended viewing of television, computer/cell phone screens, or reading increases concentration and decreases blink rate, causing increased evaporation of tears and worsening of dry eyes.   

  • Aging: Dry eyes can occur at any age, but tear production gradually decreases with age.  At age 65 the tear glands produce approximately half of the lubricating tears they produced at age 18.   

  • Contact lens wear:  Contact lens wear increases tear evaporation and related dry eye symptoms.  Dry eye symptoms may also increase from protein deposits on the lens, preservatives in solutions, or lack of oxygen permeability through the lens in some cases.

  • Eyelid abnormalities: Droopy lids, altered blinking patterns, inflammation of the eyelids, or clogging of the meibomian glands (which produce oils to prevent the tears from evaporating too quickly) can lead to altered tear film chemistry and/or oil film deficiency.  These may cause the tears to evaporate quicker than normal and cause surface irritation.

  • Smoking contributes to dry eyes.

  • Medications and systemic conditions:  Certain medications and systemic conditions can cause reduced tear production and contribute to your dry eye symptoms.  These include: Atropine, Aspartame (NUTRASWEET), Birth control pills, hormone therapy, Marijuana, Vitamin A analogs (isotretinoin), Niacin, Decongestants (Sudafed, etc.), Practolol, Antihistamines (Benadryl, Coricidin, etc.)Methotrexate and other cancer drugs, Scopolamine, Diuretics/water pills (Hydrochlorothiazide, Chlorothiazide, etc.), Decongestant eye drops (Visine, Murine, Prefrin, Clear Eyes), Tranquilizers, anti-depressants and antianxiety agents (Diazepam, Elavil, Valium, etc.), Glaucoma Beta blockers eye drops (Timoptic, Betoptic, Betagan, Ocupress, etc.), Pain relievers, narcotic (Codeine, Morphine), Systemic diseases such arthritis, systemic lupus erythematous and others; Bone marrow transplant, Sjogren Syndrome, Hepatitis C, Menopause; LASIK, PRK and other refractive / vision laser procedures

TREATMENT OF DRY EYE:

The treatment for dry eyes may include any of the following:

  • Elimination or correction of any of the above causes whenever possible

  • Artificial tears (preservative free are best but cost more than preserved solutions) or ointments

ARTIFICIAL TEARS                                 

  1. Refresh Tears (non-preserved & preserved) 

  2. Refresh Optive (non-preserved & preserved) 

  3. Refresh Optive Gel drops (preserved) 

  4. Refresh Optive Omega 3  (non-preserved) 

  5. Refresh Liquigel (non-preserved)

AT BEDTIME                                             

  1. Refresh PM ointment

  2. Lacrilube ointment

  3. Systane / Genteal gel

  4. Eye shields:  www.eyeeco.com

  • Omega 3 fatty acid supplements:  3,000 mg of high quality Omega 3 and 1,000 mg Flaxseed oil caplets, taking orally daily can help with oil film related dry eyes. (Theratears Nutrition, Nordic Naturals or Barleen’s 3,000 mg taken orally daily)

  • Restasis or Cequa (cyclosporine) and Xiidra are FDA approved topical prescription drops for dry eyes. These drops can make your eyes healthier by controlling inflammation.

  • Collagen or silicone punctal help keep natural tears in the eyes longer.

  • Sunglasses, preferably wrap styles, when worn outdoors can reduce tear evaporation

  • Avoid hotair vents, air conditioning vents, and arid areas

  • Oral prescription & OTC medications may be indicated for certain types of severe dry eyes.