Dry Eye Disease
What is dry eye disease?
Dry eye disease is a condition which occurs when your eyes produce poor quality or not enough tears. People with dry eye disease may experience irritated, tired, gritty, scratchy or burning eyes. Additionally, they may experience intermittent blurred vision, light sensitivity, and, although it sounds counterintuitive, watery eyes.
Causes of dry eye disease
Below are just a few of the many causes of dry eye disease:
- age – the majority of people over age 65 have some symptoms of dry eye
- gender – women over 40 are twice as likely as men to experience dry eye
- environment – cold weather, low humidity, and dusty, dirty environments can all increase symptoms of dry eye disease
- medications – antihistamines, antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, and many others can decrease tear production
- medical conditions – diabetes, thyroid problems, Sjogren’s and rheumatoid arthritis to name a few. There is a long list of underlying medical conditions associated with dry eye disease
- computers – we blink less fully and less frequently when looking at a computer screen and this leads to poor quality tears that evaporate off the eye more quickly
Dry eye disease can often be detected during a comprehensive eye exam, but additional testing may be necessary to determine the exact cause and type of dry eye. At Focused Eye Care, Dr. Nathan Goldberg will thoroughly review your medical history for medications and conditions that are commonly associated with dry eye disease. During the exam, he may use special eye drops that highlight microscopic irritations to the ocular surface which indicate damage from dry eyes. Additionally, he will examine the meibomian glands in the eyelids which produce part of your tear film and are commonly the culprit for a poor quality tear film.
Treatment (How can Focused Eye Care help?)
Treatment of dry eye disease varies depending on the type of dry eye and the underlying cause(s). Dr. Goldberg develops a tailored treatment plan for each patient in order to provide the quickest and most effective relief. Treatments may involve over-the-counter artificial tears, but often involve more effective measures including punctal plugs, Restasis or Xiidra prescription eye drops, omega 3 supplementation, antibiotic medications, ointments, anti-inflammatory drops, warm compresses, and more.