Dry eye syndrome occurs when your eyes chronically do not produce enough moisture and lubrication along the surface of the eye. The medical term for dry eyes, keratitis sicca, refers to a decrease in the production of tears.
Symptoms of dry eyes include constant irritation, such as dryness, scratching and burning. Another symptom of dry eyes is “foreign body sensation,” the feeling that something is irritating the eye. And finally, watery eyes, as a result of an over stimulated production of the water component of your eye.
Dry eyes are caused by either a malfunction in the lacrimal gland that doesn’t produce enough tears, or the tears themselves evaporate too quickly. Dry eyes are a result of a multitude of factors. Some include:
- The aging process, especially during menopause
- As a side effect of certain medications (i.e. antihistamines, antidepressants, birth control pills)
- As a result of a dry, dusty or windy climate
- If your home or office has air conditioning or a heating system
- Long-term contact wear
Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition that may not be completely curable but the associated irritation can be managed. Some solutions include: prescribed artificial tears (lubricating eye drops), punctual plugs that help keep the eye dry by preventing tears from draining out too quickly, or sunglasses that keep out wind, pollen and dust with an air tight seal.
Tears cleanse the eye, flushing out dust and debris and are essential for healthy eyes. If you suspect you have dry eye syndrome, feel free to contact our office to schedule an eye exam with one of our doctors today. We will gladly answer any of your questions and provide you with the best treatment options available to you.