Dry eye syndrome is when one does not produce enough tears or the appropriate quality of tears to keep the eye healthy and comfortable. Tears are made by two different methods. One way produces tears in a slow, steady rate and is responsible for normal eye lubrication. The other method produces large quantities of tears in response to eye irritation or emotions. Lubrication is constantly produced by a healthy eye. Excessive tearing occurs when the eye is irritated by a foreign body, dryness or when emotions take over.
Causes of Dry Eye Syndrome
Tear production slows as we age. Women are more affected than men, especially after menopause. A wide variety of common medications, prescriptions, and over the counter pills can cause dry eye.
Other causes include:
- Beta blockers
- Sleeping pills
- Medications for nerves
- Pain relievers
The usual symptoms include: stinging or burning eyes, scratchiness, stringy mucus in or around the eyes, excessive eye irritation from smoke or wind, excess tearing, or difficulty wearing contact lens. Excessive tearing occurs when the eye is dry and tears are not lubricating the eye enough. The lacrimal gland produces a large volume of tears that overwhelm the tear drainage system.
Artificial tears are used to mimic your own tears. They lubricate the eyes and help maintain moisture and are available without prescription. You can use the tears as often as necessary; once or twice a day or as often as several times an hour.
Tears drain out the eye through a small channels into the nose. Dr. Khemsara may choose to close these channels either temporarily or permanently. The closure conserves your own tears and makes artificial tears last longer.
A prescription eye drop is often used as a last resort when all else has failed. This drop increases your tear production by suppressing inflammation that is thought to decrease tear production.
For dry eye treatment, contact ophthalmologist Dr. Vic Khemsara at Summit Eye Care 336-765-0960.