One of the most complaints that patients present with at McKinney Eyeworks is dry eyes. A recent poll suggests that over 28 million Americans suffer from dry eye syndrome. Different types of dry eyes exist and are usually classified by poor tear quality or lack of tear production.
Common symptoms of dry eye include:
• Dryness sensation
• Burning sensation
• Blurred vision
• Watery eyes
• Foreign body sensation
• Eye fatique
• Light sensitivity
A patient with the complaint of an eye or eyes that are constantly watering is usually quite surprised when they are told in reality you have dry eyes. The excessive watery tears are due to the irritation of the corneal surface that in turn elicits a reflex tearing.
Factors that may cause Dry Eye Syndrome
• Age. Dryness is a part of the aging process. Many people over the age of 50 will notice a decrease in tear production.
• Gender. Women are more susceptible to have dry eyes due to hormonal changes in pregnancy and menopause.
• Systemic disease. Diabetes, lupus, thyroid dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis, sjogrens and other autoimmune disorders.
• Computer use. When working on a computer, smart phone or any amount of long term reading a persons blink rate diminishes by close to 30 percent. This leads to prolonged exposure to the atmosphere causing faster tear evaporation.
• Environmental factors. Exposure to wind, living in dry hot areas,smoking and frequent flying are all common factors.
Dry eye syndrome can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. Our doctors at McKinney Eyeworks will conduct a variety of tests that will determine which type of dry eye exists. This along with a thorough run down of the patients history will allow us to determine the proper treatment modality. Treatment for mild dry eye usually starts with the addition of artificial tears and lubricants. More serious cases may be solve by punctal plugs which are inserted into the lower tear ducts making your natural tears stay in you eyes longer. Often the cause of dryness is ocular surface or eyelid inflammation. This can be treated by prescription eyedrops such as Restasis or Xiidra. Addition of Omega-3 fatty acids into the diet has also shown to be beneficial.