Managing Dry Eye Syndrome

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Normally, the eye constantly bathes itself in tears. By producing tears at a slow and steady rate, the eye stays moist and comfortable. Sometimes people don’t produce enough tears or the right quality of tears to keep their eyes healthy and comfortable. This condition is known as Dry Eye Syndrome. Chang Eye Group uses the latest technology from Tear Lab® to diagnose and manage Dry Eye Syndrome.

While it may sound strange, people with dry eye may find their eyes tear quite a bit. This is because the eye is responding to the irritation of this condition. Dry eye sufferers may feel like they cannot keep their eyes open for very long, and may also feel increased discomfort after reading or watching television.

Dry eye symptoms usually include:

  • Stinging or burning eyes
  • Scratchiness
  • Stringy mucus in or around the eyes
  • Excessive eye irritation from smoke or wind
  • Excess tearing
  • Discomfort when wearing contact lenses

What causes Dry Eye Syndrome?

Hormonal changes are a main cause of Dry Eye Syndrome, causing changes in tear production. The hormonal changes associated with menopause are one of the main reasons why women are most often affected by dry eye.

Other causes of dry eye include:

  • Autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Conditions that decrease corneal sensation, including diabetes and herpes zoster
  • Long-term contact lens wear
  • LASIK Common medications such as diuretics for high blood pressure; beta-blockers for heart or high blood pressure; antihistamines for allergies; sleeping pills; anti-anxiety medications; pain relievers.
  • Exposure to a dry, windy climate, as well as smoke and air conditioningDiagnosis and TreatmentTo diagnose and manage Dry Eye Syndrome, your Change Eye Group doctor is likely to use the Tear Lab® Osmolarity System, a state-of-the-art test which collects a tiny amount of tears from your eye and analyzes the quality of your tears. Other diagnostic tests include the Schirmer tear test and a procedure that places special dye drops in the eye then studies how long it takes for dry spots to develop on the cornea. Treating or managing Dry Eye Syndrome may include:Conserving tears. Tears drain out of the eye through a small channel into the nose (which is why your nose runs when you cry). Your eye doctor may close these channels either temporarily, with punctal plugs, or permanently, by sealing the puncta closed.Changing your diet. Ask your eye doctor if you have the type of Dry Eye Syndrome that would benefit from increased omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. These are found naturally in salmon, sardines, anchovies and flax seeds, or you might take fish oil tablets.
  • Using a prescription. Your eye doctor may prescribe cyclosporine, a medication that stimulates tear production. Steroid eyedrops may also be used, but are generally not recommended for long-term treatment. Other treatments may include ointments, gels and inserts.
  • Controlling your environment. Tears evaporate like any other liquid, and you can take steps to prevent evaporation. Use a humidifier in your home, and wear wraparound sunglasses when you go outside. Avoid overly warm rooms, hair dryers, wind, and smoke.
  • Adding tears. Non-prescription eyedrops called artificial tears lubricate the eyes and help maintain moisture. There are preservative-free brands for those who are sensitive to preservatives.  If you need to use artificial tears more than six times a day, preservative-free brands may be better for you.
  • Conserving tears. Tears drain out of the eye through a small channel into the nose (which is why your nose runs when you cry). Your eye doctor may close these channels either temporarily, with punctal plugs, or permanently, by sealing the puncta closed.Controlling your environment. Tears evaporate like any other liquid, and you can take steps to prevent evaporation. Use a humidifier in your home, and wear wraparound sunglasses when you go outside. Avoid overly warm rooms, hair dryers, wind, and smoke.Changing your diet. Ask your eye doctor if you have the type of Dry Eye Syndrome that would benefit from increased omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. These are found naturally in salmon, sardines, anchovies and flax seeds, or you might take fish oil tablets.Using a prescription. Your eye doctor may prescribe cyclosporine, a medication that stimulates tear production. Steroid eyedrops may also be used, but are generally not recommended for long-term treatment. Other treatments may include ointments, gels and inserts.

Oasis Eye Care

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Take our Dry Eye Quiz, if you answer yes to two or more, you probably have Dry Eyes! Print it out and bring it in with you next time! . – We can get you feeling better fast!

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