WHAT ARE DRY EYES?
Most of the time our eye constantly bathes itself in tears. When it is able to produce tears at a slow and steady rate, the eye is able to remain moist and comfortable. When the eye is not able to produce enough tears to keep it healthy and comfortable, the condition is known as dry eye.
Symptoms of Dry Eyes
Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
Stinging or burning eyes
Excessive eye irritation from smoke or wind
Stringy mucus in or around the eyes
What can cause dry eye?
As we age, tear production normally decreases. Although dry eye can occur in anyone at any age, it affects more women than men. This is especially so after menopause. If a person has a systemic disease like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or some types of thyroid disease, they will often have dry eye. Dry eye can sometimes be associated with other problems as well. People with Sjogren’s syndrome will have dry eyes, dry mouth and arthritis.
Many medications can cause dry eye by reducing tear secretion. These medications can be both over- the- counter (OTC) and prescription. Please make sure you list all of your medications on your Health Questionnaire so you can discuss them with Dr. Harkins especially if you are using:
● Antihistamines for allergies
● Pain relievers
● Sleeping Pills
Often times you may need to remain on these medications because of necessity. People with dry eyes can sometimes be more susceptible to the side effects of eye medications. Please notify Dr. Harkins if you have any problems with your eye medications.
There are many treatments for dry eye syndrome. Over the counter artificial tears, gels, or ointments can be used. The tears can be conserved in the eye by plugging the tear drainage. Prescription eye drops may be recommended to increase tear production in addition, omega-3 fatty acid dietary supplements may be helpful.
Dr. Harkins can diagnose dry eye during a complete eye examination. Please do not hesitate to tell Dr. Harkins if you are having any problems.