Dry Eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) is a medical condition that can be caused or influenced by many factors. Age, gender, contact lens wear, medications, environmental conditions, other eye diseases or other systemic medical conditions.
Treatments vary and depend on the severity of the disease and the type of dry eye a person has. They range from artificial tears to prescription eye drops and punctal plugs.
Tears are a very important and often overlooked part of our visual system. A healthy tear layer provides a smooth surface that enhances our vision. It also has antimicrobial components to help prevent ocular or surface infections.
Dry eyes can be very irritating and if untreated can lead to corneal pitting and scarring. There is an increased risk of eye infections and vision problems with untreated dry eye.
Tests to detect dry eye include the use of dyes to assess the tear layer and the surface of the cornea and conjunctiva. Also we may measure the volume of tear production using small strips of paper or threads. Evaluation of your eyelids is also an important factor in determining the cause of the tear layer dysfunction.
For mild cases treatment can simply be over-the-counter eyedrops. But in many cases we need to determine the underlying cause and treat that first. This can be a common eyelid condition called Blepharitis or it can be a systemic condition such as Rheumatoid Arthritis.
We would like our patients to know that our office has been designated by Alcon as a Dry Eye Center of Excellence. We will strive to stay on the forefront of treating dysfunctional tear syndrome.