Dr. Karp says...
Dry Eye Syndrome is a common disorder that often occurs when the output of tear glands and lipid producing glands decline, negatively affecting tearfilm quality. The surface of the eye then develops areas of dryness which leads to symptoms such as discomfort, eye burning and intermittent blurry vision between eye blinks.
The surface of the eye is normally coated by a layer of tearfilm, which is composed of a mixture of tears, lipids and mucus. This tearfilm layer provides lubrication to the eye and ensures both comfort as well as visual stability. This is why disruption of tearfilm production leads to eye discomfort and decreased vision.
Dry Eye Syndrome is more common in women than in men and increases in incidence with age. It can be particularly bothersome in patients with autoimmune disorders - for example rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. It is also common in people with inflammation of eyelids known as blepharitis.
As ophthalmologists, we can look at the properties and the amount of tearfilm, detect eye lid inflammation and evaluate for signs of eye surface dryness using special stains. We successfully treat Dry Eye Syndrome using a number of advanced medical approaches and procedures.
As is the case in many medical conditions, Dry Eye Syndrome is easier to manage when treatment is started early in the course of the disorder.
Call Koby Karp Doctors Eye Institute if you are experiencing the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome and we will be glad to help you. Our phone number is 502.897.1604.
Dry Eye Syndrome Causes
Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is a common disorder of the normal tear film that results from one of the following:
- Poor production of watery tears or excessive evaporation of the watery tear layer.
- Evaporative loss of the watery tear layer is usually a result of an insufficient overlying lipid layer.
- Some medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, beta-blockers, and oral contraceptives, may decrease tear production.
- If blinking is decreased or if the eyelids cannot be closed, the eyes may dry out because of tear evaporation.
- When you read, watch TV, or perform a task that requires close attention with your eyes, you do not blink as often.
- Certain conditions, such as stroke or Bell palsy, make it difficult to close your eyes on your own. As a result, your eyes may become dry from tear evaporation.
Dry Eye Syndrome Symptoms
Sometimes a symptom of DES may actually be intermittent excessive tearing with DES. When your eye becomes slightly dry and irritated, it may initiate reflex tearing with production of a large amount of tears all at once to try to get moist and comfortable again. Unfortunately, your eye can only handle so many tears at any one time; the rest pour over your eyelids and down your cheeks. DES, symptoms include:
- Periodic tearing
- Dry, gritty/scratchy, or filmy feeling in the eyes
- A sensation of having a foreign body in the eyes
- Burning sensations or itching in the eyes
- Redness of the eyes
- Blurred vision
- Light sensitivity
Dry Eye Syndrome Treatment
Many treatments start with a test to evaluate the actual severity of your dry eye condition.
- OTC drops (Over the Counter) Your doctor may recommend OTC drops for dry eye such as Refresh Tears®. They can provide some initial relief but they typically do not solve the problem long-term.
- SYSTANE® ULTRA Lubricant Eye Drops offers the ultimate in high performance dry eye therapy.
- SYSTANE® BALANCE Lubricant Eye Drops help support your eyes’ delicate lipid layer with SYSTANE® BALANCE Lubricant Eye Drops.
- Punctum Plugs (you will need to see an eye doctor) Doctors can place tiny collagen or silicone plugs in the drainage canals of your eyelids. These plugs prevent the tears from draining down and out of your eyes. Collagen plugs last about 2 weeks. Generally they are a good first step. If the patient notices improvement for a few days, then the symptoms return, permanent silicone plugs can be inserted.
- Eye Vitamins BioTears (Biosyntrx) Recent success in dry eye relief can be found in dry eye vitamins. The BioTears® product by Biosyntrx is very popular and has scientific basis for its ingredients. Other options include eye health vitamins and supplements to create a healthier eye.
- RESTASIS® This is a pharmaceutical product that helps increase your eyes' natural ability to produce tears, which may be reduced by inflammation due to Chronic Dry Eye.
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Dry Eye Syndrome Exams and Tests
An ophthalmologist can look at the film of tears on your eye using a slit lamp. A dye such as fluorescein may be placed in the eye to make the tear film more visible. Your health care provider may do a Schirmer's test, measuring the rate of tear production using a calibrated paper wick placed on the edge of the eyelid.
Dry Eye Questionnaire
Here's our online form that you can print out, fill in and bring with you to our office. It will help your doctor evaluate your dry eye condition and to prescribe the proper treatment for you.
See your Eye Doctor
Patients suffering with dry eyes should make an appointment with one of the doctors at Koby Karp Doctors Eye Institute to take a more active role in a possible treatment process. It is important to protect your eyes from further irritation.