What is dry eye syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is a common problem that can range in severity from mild to severe. This is caused by a disruption of the tear layer that normally coats the surface of the eye. Symptoms include:
- Crusting of the eye lashes, especially in the morning
- Feeling of eye irritation or "something in the eye"
- Blurry vision, especially with certain activities such as reading, using the computer, watching TV, driving
- Light sensitivity
- Eye fatigue
What causes dry eye syndrome?
- Environmental factors: hot, dry climate, wind, dust
- Eye inflammation: allergies, eyelid inflammation, eye injury or surgery, contact lens use, infection
- Systemic conditions, aging, autoimmune conditions, thyroid, diabetes
- Neurologic conditions
What tests can look for dry eye syndrome?
Tests can be done in the office including looking at eye sensation, tear layer stability, damage to the surface of the eye, tear production, and eye inflammation. A blood test can also be performed to look at autoimmune associated dry eye and Sjogren’s syndrome.
What is the management for dry eye syndrome?
Depending on the case, different treatments for dry eye syndrome are used including:
- Artificial tears
- Substances that last longer such as gels or ointments
- Warm compresses
- Lid hygiene
- Reducing eye inflammation
- Punctal plugs
- Prescription dry eye drops
- Increasing omega-3 intake