Dry Eye is a common problem for many people and are usually the result of impaired tear production. Contact Lenses, certain medications, and medical conditions can all cause impaired tear production, with the result of Dry Eye. Eye drops and humidifiers help a little, but Dry Eye relief is usually temporary.
The eye is largely composed of soft tissues and fluid and depends on tears to provide constant moisture, lubrication, and protection. Tears contain water, oils, mucus, special proteins and antibodies to resist infection so they do a lot more than just wash the eye’s surface. Dr. David O’Day, M.D. can treat and diagnose Dry Eye and recommend the proper treatment depending on severity of the condition.
- Over-sensitivity to light
- Feeling like there’s something in the eye
- Blurring of vision
What Causes Dry Eye?
- Imbalance in the tear-flow system
- Drying out of the tear film due to air conditioning, heat, other environmental conditions
- The natural aging process
- Side effects of antihistamines and birth control pills
- Diseases such as Sjogren’s Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Vascular Diseases
- Any problems that prevent the eyes from closing properly or a blockages of the tear ducts
- A dry living or working environment
- Exposure to cigarette smoke – first or second-hand
- Regular use of cold or allergy medications
The first step in any treatment regiment is a full Eye Examination. As Dry Eye can have a number of causes, it is vital that you get a full examination. Some of the most common treatment options include:
- Artificial Tears and Ointments: The use of artificial teardrops is the primary treatment for Dry Eye.
- Punctal Plugs: Treatment for Dry Eye involves a simple, non-surgical procedure that provides long-term relief using tiny silicone plugs called Punctum plugs. Punctum plugs have a very high rate of success and can be inserted easily and painlessly by an eye care professional. The plugs are inserted into your tear drainage ducts where they act as a dam. Your tears have no place to go but onto the surface of your eyes! Punctum plugs are also used for many patients after LASIK surgery since keeping the eyes moist is important during the healing process.
- Restasis: When your eyes’ natural ability to make enough tears is reduced, they may not have enough tears to lubricate and protect them. Chronic Dry Eye (CDE) is a medical condition that can result from the eyes’ reduced ability to make tears. Over-the-counter eye drops can help moisten your eyes, but they cannot help increase tear production— so provide only temporary relief. Restasis Ophthalmic Emulsion helps increase tear production in cases where it may be reduced by inflammation and helps you make more of your own real tears.
- Other Medications: Other medications, including topical steroids, may also be beneficial in some cases.
- Surgery: If needed, the ducts that drain tears into the nose can be permanently closed to allow more tears to remain around the eye. This is done with local anesthetic on an outpatient basis.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, schedule a consultation at Charleston Cornea & Refractive Surgery and let our experts recommend the best treatment.
- Use a humidifier in the winter if you live in an area that requires indoor heating
- Whenever possible, avoid air conditioning, second-hand smoke, and direct wind
- Try to avoid regular use of contact lenses
- Completely close and rest your eyes at regular intervals
- Review your diet and try to include foods like walnuts, ground flax seeds, cod liver oil, and cold-water fish that are typically low in mercury, such as wild salmon and sardines, or use omega-3 dietary supplements.
No matter what your vision-related issues are, it is crucial to have a skilled, caring, and trusted health care provider. If you live in Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, and Myrtle Beach SC or surrounding areas, consider visiting Charleston Cornea & Refractive Surgery for help with a variety of vision-related issues including Dry Eye. Call us at (843) 856-5275 for more information.