Dry Eye occurs when the eye does not produce enough tears, or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly. Tears are normally produced at a steady rate, and the eye stays moist and comfortable. In addition, inflammation of the surface of the eye may occur along with dry eye, creating irritation and discomfort.
• Stinging or burning eyes
• Excess tearing
• Pain and redness
• Stringy discharge from the eye
• Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
Dry Eye occurs more often in women than men and is especially true after menopause. Certain medications may contribute to dry eye, as well as environmental factors, such as exposure to smoke, wind and dry climates. Dry Eye can also be associated with immune system disorders such as Sjögren’s syndrome, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Our doctors can perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine if you have Dry Eye. An external examination of the eye will be performed as well as an evaluation of the eyelids and cornea. Special tests used to measure tear production will help diagnose your condition. These may include the Schirmer tear test, and other tests that use special dyes in eye drops to look for certain patterns of dryness on the surface of the eye.
Treatment for Dry Eye
Dry Eye is often a chronic condition, but our doctors can prescribe treatment to keep your eyes healthy, more comfortable, and help your vision from being affected. Managing and treating Dry Eye may include adding tears, increasing tear production, conserving tears, and treating the inflammation of the eyelids or eye surface that contributes to the dry eyes.
If your Dry Eye is severe and unresponsive to eye drops, another option is to plug the drainage holes with lacrimal plugs, also called punctal plugs. These plugs are inserted into the tear duct to help preserve tears. Insertion is an outpatient procedure done in your doctor’s office. The eye is numbed with a local anesthetic, and the plug is installed in the punctum with a tiny applicator.
If symptoms of dry eye are persistent, consult the doctors at Fifth Avenue EyeCare and Surgery to get an accurate diagnosis of the condition and begin treatment.