Dry eye syndrome (DES or dry eye) is a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. Its consequences range from minor irritation to the inability to wear contact lenses and an increased risk of corneal inflammation and eye infections.
Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye
Persistent dryness, scratchiness and a burning sensation on your eyes are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome. These symptoms alone may be enough for your Bardstown eye doctor to diagnose dry eye syndrome. Sometimes, he or she may want to measure the amount of tears in your eyes. A thin strip of filter paper placed at the edge of the eye, called a Schirmer test, is one way of measuring this.
Some people with dry eyes also experience a "foreign body sensation” – the feeling that something is in the eye. And it may seem odd, but sometimes dry eye syndrome can cause watery eyes because the excessive dryness works to overstimulate production of the watery component of your eye's tears.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
In dry eye syndrome, the tear glands that moisturize the eye don't produce enough tears, or the tears have a chemical composition that causes them to evaporate too quickly.
Dry eye syndrome has several causes. It occurs:
- As a part of the natural aging process, especially among women over age 40.
- As a side effect of many medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson's medications and birth control pills.
- Because you live in a dry, dusty or windy climate with low humidity.
If your home or office has air conditioning or a dry heating system, that too can dry out your eyes. Another cause is insufficient blinking, such as when you're staring at a computer screen all day.
Dry eyes are also associated with certain systemic diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea or Sjogren's Syndrome (a triad of dry eyes, dry mouth, and rheumatoid arthritis or lupus).
Long-term contact lens wear, incomplete closure of the eyelids, eyelid disease and a deficiency of the tear-producing glands are other causes.
Dry eye syndrome is more common in women, possibly due to hormone fluctuations. Recent research suggests that smoking, too, can increase your risk of dry eye syndrome. Dry eye has also been associated with incomplete lid closure following blepharoplasty – a popular cosmetic surgery to eliminate droopy eyelids.
Treatment for Dry Eye
Dry eye syndrome is an ongoing condition that treatments may be unable to cure. But the symptoms of dry eye – including dryness, scratchiness and burning – can usually be successfully managed.
Your eyecare practitioner may recommend artificial tears, which are lubricating eye drops that may alleviate the dry, scratchy feeling and foreign body sensation of dry eye. Prescription eye drops for dry eye go one step further: they help increase your tear production. In some cases, your optometrist in Bardstown may also prescribe a steroid for more immediate short-term relief.
Another option for dry eye treatment involves a tiny insert filled with a lubricating ingredient. The insert is placed just inside the lower eyelid, where it continuously releases lubrication throughout the day.
If you wear contact lenses, be aware that many artificial tears cannot be used during contact lens wear. You may need to remove your lenses before using the drops. Wait 15 minutes or longer (check the label) before reinserting them. For mild dry eye, contact lens rewetting drops may be sufficient to make your eyes feel better, but the effect is usually only temporary. Switching to another lens brand could also help.
Check the label, but better yet, check with our Bardstown eye care expert before buying any over-the-counter eye drops. Your eye doctor will know which formulas are effective and long-lasting and which are not, as well as which eye drops will work with your contact lenses.
To reduce the effects of sun, wind and dust on dry eyes, wear sunglasses when outdoors. Wraparound styles offer the best protection.
Indoors, an air cleaner can filter out dust and other particles from the air, while a humidifier adds moisture to air that's too dry because of air conditioning or heating.
For more significant cases of dry eye, your eye doctor may recommend punctal plugs. These tiny devices are inserted in ducts in your lids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes, thereby keeping your eyes more moist.
If your dry eye is caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), your doctor may recommend warm compresses and suggest an in-office procedure to clear the blocked glands and restore normal function.
Doctors sometimes also recommend special nutritional supplements containing certain essential fatty acids to decrease dry eye symptoms. Drinking more water may also offer some relief.
If medications are the cause of dry eyes, discontinuing the drug generally resolves the problem. But in this case, the benefits of the drug must be weighed against the side effect of dry eyes. Sometimes switching to a different type of medication alleviates the dry eye symptoms while keeping the needed treatment. In any case, never switch or discontinue your medications without consulting with your doctor first.
Treating any underlying eyelid disease, such as blepharitis, helps as well. This may call for antibiotic or steroid drops, plus frequent eyelid scrubs with an antibacterial shampoo.
If you are considering LASIK, be aware that dry eyes may disqualify you for the surgery, at least until your dry eye condition is successfully treated. Dry eyes increase your risk for poor healing after LASIK, so most surgeons will want to treat the dry eyes first, to ensure a good LASIK outcome. This goes for other types of vision correction surgery, as well.
Presbyopia care is also available at our optometry practice in Bardstown, KY.
FIVE FAST FACTS ABOUT XIIDRA
The most common side effects of Xiidra include eye irritation, discomfort or blurred vision when the drops are applied to the eyes and an unusual taste sensation. Tell your doctor if you have any side effects that bother you. These are not all of the possible side effects of Xiidra.
Use Xiidra twice per day
Use one drop of Xiidra in each eye, two times a day, about 12 hours apart.
Wear contact lenses?
Take ’em out before using Xiidra and wait at least 15 minutes before popping them back in.
Each Xiidra container has enough medicine to treat both of your eyes once. So you’ll be using two containers each day, about 12 hours apart.
Scrub those hands
To avoid contamination, wash your hands first & don’t let the tip of the container touch your eye or any surface.
Have a bad aim? It’s ok!
Each container has some extra solution in case you miss. Throw it out when you’re done – don’t save it.
In clinical studies, Xiidra was shown to, on average:
- Reduce dry eye symptoms after 12 and 6 weeks
- Provide relief for some patients in as little as 2 weeks
- Reduce the signs of dry eye (the things your doctor can see) by week 12
Xiidra may not work for everyone, but we hope it helps you!
Xiidra has been studied in more than 1,000 patients with dry eye in four separate, 12-week clinical studies. Xiidra was proven to reduce the symptom of eye dryness in all four studies and the sign of inferior corneal staining in three of the four studies.
Select Important Safety Information
The most common side effects of Xiidra include eye irritation, discomfort or blurred vision when the drops are applied to the eyes and an unusual taste sensation.
RESTASIS® and RESTASIS MultiDose™ Ophthalmic Emulsion help increase your eyes’ natural ability to produce tears, which may be reduced by inflammation due to Chronic Dry Eye. RESTASIS® and RESTASIS MultiDose™ did not increase tear production in patients using anti-inflammatory eye drops or tear duct plugs.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION:
Do not use RESTASIS® and RESTASIS MultiDose™ Ophthalmic Emulsion if you are allergic to any of the ingredients. Be careful not to touch the container tip to your eye or other surfaces, to help avoid eye injury and contamination. RESTASIS® and RESTASIS MultiDose™ should not be used while wearing contact lenses. If contact lenses are worn, they should be removed prior to use of RESTASIS® and RESTASIS MultiDose™ and may be reinserted after 15 minutes.
The most common side effect is a temporary burning sensation. Other side effects include eye redness, discharge, watery eyes, eye pain, foreign body sensation, itching, stinging, and blurred vision.
Punctual Plugs for Dry Eyes
Punctual plugs are biocompatible devices that can be inserted into the tear ducts to prevent drainage. This will increase moisture in the eyes and help prevent dry eyes. They are also called punctum plugs, lacrimal plugs or occluders, and they are no bigger than a grain of rice. These plugs are prescribed when eye drops have failed to work. There are two types of plugs, semi-permanent and dissolvable.
Semi-permanent plugs are made of silicone, a long lasting material, and dissolvable ones are made of collagen, which the body will eventually absorb. Dissolvable ones will be used after surgery to prevent dry eye or used to determine if a more permanent option is right for you.
Bruder Eye Mask - for Dry Eye
A CLINICALLY PROVEN AND NATURAL WAY TO TREAT CHRONIC DRY EYE, MGD AND BLEPHARITIS
Our patented BRUDER Moist Heat Eye Compress opens oil glands and allows natural oils to flow back into the eye relieving discomfort from aging, contact lenses, use of digital devices and more.
The easy-to-use compress delivers an effective moist heat treatment. Simply microwave for 20-25 seconds and apply for 10 minutes or as prescribed by your doctor.
The compress helps stabilize the tear film, improves oil gland function and slows tear evaporation. Properly hydrated and lubricated eyes can expel bacteria and debris more efficiently so your eyes will feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
- Safe for frequent use
- Self-hydrating – no need to add water
- Anti-bacterial and non-allergenic
- Washable and reusable.
Unique pod design provides improved fit and performance. Also available in a single eye model.
Bruder Cool Compresses
REDUCE INFLAMMATION AND SWELLING WITH COLD THERAPY
The innovative Cold Therapy Eye Compress safely delivers timed-released cold treatment to reduce inflammation and swelling caused by surgery, allergies and Dry Eye Disease. The eye compress is soft and flexible and may be applied directly to the skin without a cover. This gel-free product is condensation-free and double sealed for longevity. Wash your mask and store it for repeated use.
- Safely delivers timed-release cold treatments
- Reduces inflammation and swelling
- Relieves eye irritation caused by allergies
- Excellent post-surgical compress
- Compress remain soft and flexible and may be applied directly to the skin
- No special covers required
- Unique pad design assures complete conformance
- Patented design prevents Compress from bunching, bursting or leaking
- Multi-layered compress features our proprietary "double seal and sewn" construction
- Perfect thickness and weight to allow easy application
Oasis Tears Plus
Tears can be replaced by using eye drops called ARTIFICIAL TEARS. They replace the moisture that is missing and lubricate the eyes. They temporarily soothe Dry Eye symptoms.
Most artificial tears contain preservatives which have recently been discovered to be the culprit in damaging the top layer of the cornea leading to disruption of the tear film when drops are used often. This sequence leaves the surface of the eye unable to keep the tear film in place and can lead to ocular surface disease. Using more than 4 to 6 drops per day increases the likelihood of preservative-induced adverse effects.
It is important to use a preservative-free drop such as Oasis TEARS™. Studies have shown preservative-free preparations are safe to use in patients, especially those who require frequent dosing, or use contact lens solutions or ocular medications.