The eye depends on the flow of tears to provide constant moisture and lubrication to maintain vision and comfort. Tears are a combination of water, for moisture; oils, for lubrication; mucus, for even spreading; and antibodies and special proteins, for resistance to infection. These components are secreted by special glands located around the eye. When there is an imbalance in this tear system, a person may experience dry eyes.
Symptoms of Dry Eye Include:
- Blurry vision
- Excess tearing
- Light sensitivity
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- A gritty sensation
- Foreign body sensation/“sand” in the eye
How Are My Eyes Dry When They Run Water All The Time?
Sometimes, a person with dry eye will have excess tears running down their cheeks, which may seem confusing. This happens because the eye is not getting enough lubrication. The eye sends a distress signal through the nervous system for more lubrication. In response, the eye is flooded with tears to try to compensate for the underlying dryness. However, these tears are mostly water and do not have the lubricating qualities or the rich composition of normal tears. They will wash debris away, but they will not coat the eye surface properly.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
In addition to an imbalance in the tear-flow system of the eye, dry eye can be caused by the drying out of the tear film. This can be due to dry air created by air conditioning, ceiling fans, heat, and other environmental issues. Other conditions that may cause dry eyes are:
- Natural aging/menopause.
- Medication side effects (antihistamines/birth control)
- Diseases affecting the ability to make tears (Sjogren's, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus).
- Structural problems with the eyelids that don't allow them to close properly.
Ask our physicians about steps you can take to help prevent dry eyes from occurring.
How Are Dry Eyes Treated?
Though dry eyes cannot be cured, there are a variety of methods to control it. You should discuss the options with an ophthalmologist who can customize your treatment plan. The key is to find out exactly what type of Dry Eye Syndrome you have, why you have it, and outline a treatment strategy specific for those issues.
Treatments for dry eyes may include:
|Artificial Tear Drops/Ointments: ||The use of artificial teardrops (AT’s) is the primary treatment for dry eye. Most are available over the counter. No one drop works for everyone, so you might have to experiment to find the drop that works for you. If you have chronic dry eye, it is important to use the drops even when your eyes feel fine, to keep them lubricated. If your eyes dry out while you sleep, you can use a thicker lubricant gel prior to bedtime. |
|Punctal Occlusion: ||Sometimes it is necessary to close the ducts that drain tears out of the eye. This is done via a painless procedure where a plug is inserted into the tear drain of the lower eyelid. These plugs will hold tears around the eyes as long as they are in place. They can be easily removed if desired. In rare occurrences, the plugs may come out spontaneously or migrate down the tear drain. Many patients find that the plugs improve comfort and reduce the need for artificial tears. |
|Lotemax®: ||The Eye Center is proud to offer the new formulation of Lotemax®, the Gel Drop. This drop delivers all the treatment power of a traditional Lotemax in an improved formulation for efficacy and tolerance. If you have those persistant red, irritiated eyes that seem immune to therapy, come visit us to see if the Lotemax Gel Drop is right for you. |
|Refresh Optive Advanced: ||Allergan recently launched Refresh
Optive Advanced, a new over-the-counter artificial tear option for
patients suffering from dry-eye symptoms. Refresh Optive Advanced is a
lipid-enhanced tear with the low blur and comfort of an aqueous tear,
Allergan says. It features a comprehensive, triple-action formulation
that works on all three layers of the tear film to reduce tear
evaporation, hydrate and lubricate for dry eye symptom relief. For
information, visit www.refreshbrand.com. |
|Restasis: ||In 2002, the FDA approved the prescription eye drop
Restasis for the treatment of chronic dry eye. It is currently the only
prescription eye drop that helps increase tear production and tear
|Natural Methods: ||Maintaining adequate water intake is critical. Fish and Flaxseed Oils will improve the oily layer of the natural tears and allow them to function for a longer period of time. Talk with your doctor before beginning any new vitamins. |
|Other Medications: ||Other medications, including topical steroids, may also be beneficial in some cases to relieve any inflammation. Lacrisert is a small insert that when placed behind the lower eyelid, slowly dissolves and lubricates the eye throughout the day. |
|Surgery: ||If needed, the ducts that drain tears into the nose can be permanently closed to allow more tears to remain around the eye. Structural eyelid defects can often be repaired. |
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