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Dry Eye Information Page 1

see also:-

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Theratears

Eagle Vision Punctal Plugs

Dry Eye Questionaire

Dry Eye Symptoms in contact lens patients

 

 

What Is "Dry Eye?"

Your eyes are a delicately balanced Eco-system in which tears play a large and important role. Every time you blink, tears form a coating that protects and nourishes the eyes' surface. When tear production is reduced, your eyes feel dry, scratchy and irritated.

Dry Eye, a condition that affects millions of people, is actually a group of conditions with a variety of causes. It may result when the eyes produce too little tear fluid, or when tears evaporate from the surface of the eye too rapidly.

Decreased tear production is particularly common in older adults, especially women. Some diseases, such as arthritis, can also lead to decreased tear production; and many medications can cause this as a side effect. Long term contact lens wear, certain infections, and certain types of surgery can decrease tear production as well.


Increased tear evaporation most commonly results from a dysfunction or inflammation within the eyelid margins themselves - a condition called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.

People with large eyes are also subject to high tear evaporation (eg patients with Thyroid eye disease).

Environmental conditions such as heating, air conditioning, and wind, and activities that decrease blink rate, such as driving, watching TV, or reading, all increase tear evaporation as well.


In all these dry-eye conditions the normal tear fluid loses water and becomes more concentrated. As a result of the tears "pull" water out of the surface of the eye, causing the dry-eye symptoms that usually worsen as the day goes on.

 
Do you suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome?

Instructions: Check the box for the symptoms or conditions you may have recently experienced. Please review this checklist with your Eye Specialist to determine if you need to be tested for Dry Eye Syndrome.

· Dryness of the eye 
· Mucous discharge 
· Redness 
· Sandy or gritty feeling 
· Itching 
· Burning 
· Constant or occasional tearing 
· Watery eyes 
· Light sensitivity 
· Eye pain or soreness 
· Lid infections 
· Sties 
· Tired eyes 
· Contact lens discomfort 
· Contact lens solution sensitivity

 

Related Conditions:

· Sinus congestion 
· Nasal congestion 
· Runny nose 
· Post-nasal drip 
· Chronic cough 
· Bronchitis 
· Allergies or hayfever 
· Frequent colds 
· Middle ear congetsion 
· Sneezing 
· Dry throat or mouth 
· Headaches 
· Asthma 
· Muscle pain


Important reminders for Dry Eye Sufferers

Among those who suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome and related tearing disorders, nearly half also experience realated symptoms involving the nose, throat, and sinus.

These include:

· Nasal or sinus congetsion, post nasal drip, and sneezing. 
· Allergy and hayfever symptoms. 
· Middle ear congestion. 
· Chronic coughing. 
· Headaches.


Two types of tears.
Your eyes are lubricated by two different types of tears produced by the tear glands in your upper and lower eyelids.
Constant tears are continuously produced to lubricate the eye at all times, and contain natural antibiotics to fight infections.
Reflex tears are only produced in response to irritation, injury or emotion to help rinse the surface of the eye.
A delicate balance between constant and reflex tears, in addition to a satisfactory blink reflex, helps ensure that your eyes will be comfortable, well-lubricated and well-protected.
If you experience one or any combination of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from a medical condition known as Dry Eye:

o Burning & Stinging 
o Gritty feeling when there is nothing in your eye 
o Dryness 
o Itching 
o Sensitivity to bright lights 
o Mucous secretions in the eye

Ironically, the tear producing glands sometimes react to the dry, scratchy feeling by watering more than ever. But these "reflex tears" do not relieve the dryness as they lack some of the natural components that are essential to lubricate the cornea properly.

What Causes Dry Eye?

There are many possible causes of dry eye. The most common include:


The Aging Process
As we grow older, our eyes produce fewer lubricating tears. In fact, the volume of lubricating constant tears can be as much as 60% less at age 65 than at age 18. This reduction in constant tear flow and resulting eye irritation may cause occasional excessive reflex tearing.A condition associated with arthritis, known as Sjogren's syndrome, can also dry out the mouth and the eyes.


Menopause & Pregnancy
While men and women of any age can be affected, women are more prone to develop dry eyes after menopause and during pregnancy.


Contact Lenses 
Contact lens wear can dramatically increase tear evaporation, causing irritation, infection, protein deposits, and discomfort. Research shows that dry eye is the lending cause of contact lens discomfort.


Medication 
Common medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, diuretics, beta-blockers, sleeping pills, anti-depressants, pain relievers, and alcohol can cause decrease in tear secretion. Frequent use of preserved eye drops or artificial tears can also aggravate dry eye conditions.


Environment 
Just about everywhere you turn in this world, you run into something that can dry out your eyes. These include sunny, windy, dry conditions; heaters, dehumidifiers, fans or air conditioners, high altitudes; smoke or air pollution; sand, dust, or airborne pollen. The list is virtually endless.
Diagnosing Dry Eye Syndrome

Your optometrist may use a combination of several methods to determine whether you have Dry Eye.
Eye Drops
A few drops containing dye in each eye will help your optometrist check for any dry spots or areas where the cornea has become damaged by dehydration. Using a microscope he can evaluate both the quality and the quantity of your tears. 

Schirmer Test
This simple, painless test assesses tear volume. By placing the tip of a specially treated strip of paper in the lower lid of your eye, your doctor is able to measure the amount of tears your eye produces in a given period.


Temporary Closing of Tear Ducts
In this method, your physician inserts small dissolvable collagen plugs into your tear ducts to prevent tear drainage and allow tears to build up and bathe the eyes. Collagen plugs dissolve in just a few days. If you get relief from your symptoms during this test period, your physician may recommend permanent closure of your tear ducts with long-term plugs.


Short-term Relief with Artificial Tears

For patients with less severe dry eye symptoms, artificial tears can often offer immediate relief. Unfortunately, this remedy is usually temporary. While artificial tears may soothe the eyes initially, they can increase the possibility of infection by washing away the natural infection-fighting tear film of the eye.
This is why patients with more severe cases of dry eye may benefit from having their tear ducts permanently closed. This long-term solution allows patients to use their own natural tears to treat their condition.

 

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