Dry Eye Evaluations

What is dry eye?

Dry eye and its symptoms are caused by one of two reasons, or by a combination of the two. Some people do not produce enough tears to keep the eye comfortable and healthy.  This can be a result of side effects of medications or a result of our natural aging process. The second reason involves inflammation of the eye causing our tears to be unhealthy.

There are two ways that tears are produced. The first or basal tears are produced constantly throughout the day and are responsible for normal eye lubrication. The second, reflex tears are produced in response to irritation or emotions…… or dry eye.

What are the symptoms?

Usual symptoms of dry eye include:

  • stinging or burning;
  • scratchiness;
  • sandy or gritty feeling:
  • excess tearing;
  • difficulty wearing contact lenses.

The tear film consists of three layers:

  • the outermost , oily layer acts to smooth the surface of the cornea and to reduce evaporation of tears;
  • the watery layer, or the middle layer,  works to cleanse the eye and wash away foreign  irritants;
  • the inner layer consists of mucus, which allows the watery layer to spread evenly over the cornea and helps the eye remain moist.

What causes dry eye?

Production of tears normally slows down as we age. Although dry eye occurs in both men and women, women are most often affected, especially after menopause.

Many common medications, prescription and over-the-counter, can cause dry eye by reducing tear secretion, especially if you are using diuretics, beta-blockers, antihistamines, sleeping pills, medications for "nerves", or pain relievers. When those medications are necessary, the dry eye condition may have to be tolerated or treated.

How is dry eye treated?

Treatments can be a simple as daily use with artificial tears. If symptoms continue, there are many other treatments that our doctors can offer you to relieve your symptoms. This can include neutraceuticals, prescription medication or surgical implantation of punctual plugs.

We cater the treatment to the patient’s specific condition, including lifestyle factors as well as budget. While we may be able to asses the initial diagnosis and initial treatment of your dry eye on your first visit to our office, several appointments in our office may be needed to complete your personal dry eye therapy plan.