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What is Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye Syndrome is a chronic eye condition that can be very debilitating. The symptoms of dry eyes are tearing, the sensation of sandy, gritty eyes, a sharp stabbing pain in the eye, sensitivity to light, burning, stinging eyes, and difficulty wearing contact lenses. The causes of dry eyes are declining quantity of tears or a poor quality of tears. If left untreated dry eyes can damage the surface of the eye and cause blurry vision. Hormonal changes associated with aging and menopause, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome and diabetes, and medications (prescription and over the counter), such as antihistamines can all cause dry eyes. Various environmental factors can contribute to dry eyes such as ceiling fans, windy conditions and low humidity.

Recent advancement in technology has also proven to contribute to dry eye. With more and more people using their computers and smart phones regularly, the diagnosis of dry eye syndrome has increased throughout the world.

Do I have Dry Eye?

Common symptoms for dry eye include:

  • Scratchy, or gritty feeling.
  • Burning/stinging sensation.
  • Chronic allergies.
  • Taking antihistamines, antidepressants or beta-blockers. These medications may decrease tear production.
  • Diet that is low in vitamin A.
  • Aging.

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, contact us today to setup a consultation!

What treatment to expect from your exam

During the appointment for your dry eye exam, Dr. Grin and her professional staff will run a series of tests to precisely assess the tear film of your eye to determine if you have dry eye syndrome. A variety of tests can be performed. One such test, the Schirmer test, is painless and administered by Dr. Grin and her staff. The test involves placing filter-paper strips under the lower eyelids to measure the rate of tear production.

An alternative to this, our doctors can diagnose dry eye by placing medicated eye drops in each eye, and then recording how long it takes for dry spots to develop on the cornea.

Preservative free artificial tears are the first line of defense as preservatives are a contributing factor of dry eyes. Artificial tears may provide a temporary symptomatic relief, but many patients will require a medication called Restasis.

Restasis is a prescription medication that increases the production of your own tears and thus decreases significantly the symptoms of dry eyes. One drop of Restasis is used twice a day. You will benefit from increased tear production as long as you are using Restasis. Restasis requires 90 days to reach its full potential. You will notice an improvement in your symptoms of dry eyes in a few weeks after starting Restasis but the full effect is not seen for 90 days. The most common side effect of Restasis is a burning sensation that one out of five patients experience. This burning dissipates with time in the majority of patients.

Restasis Colorado

Punctal Plugs

An additional treatment option for dry eyes is tear duct Punctal Plugs. These are tiny silicone plugs that block the drainage of your tears and thus allows your tears to stay on the eye surface longer. This is an office procedure that is quick and painless.

LipiView® and LipiFlow®
LipiView is an ophthalmic imaging device that allows doctors to see and measure the lipid layer of your tear film. After which, the physician will be able to evaluate what tear therapy the patient would benefit from. The LipiView process takes about 5 minutes and is all done in the office.

LipiFlow is then used to relieve blockage of the meibomian glands. LipiFlow uses a controlled warm temperature and gentle massaging to allow the blocked glands to open. The natural production of lipids needed for the tear film is then resumed.

Who is at risk for Dry Eyes?
Usually the aging population is at risk, but depending on the environment, it can develop faster. Living in windy or dusty environments will contribute to it. Also LASIK surgery can cause temporary dry eye as well.
Can contact lenses contribute to the development of dry eyes?
Contact lenses can absolutely contribute to dry eye as well, especially if you have allergies.
What treatments are available?
Some of the main treatment options include artificial tears, LipiFlow therapy, and punctal plugs.

Think you may have Dry Eye?