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Dry Eye Syndrome

What is Dry Eye Syndrome:


Dry Eye Syndrome is an inflammatory condition of the front of the eyes.  When the eyes become dry, they become inflamed and release inflammatory mediators into the tears.  These then cause inflammation of the cornea, conjunctiva, and lacrimal gland.  They also desensitize the corneal nerves that send impulses to the brain that tell it to lubricate the eye.  This results in an eye that feels scratchy, sandy, burning, teary, achy, as well as tender or as if there is pressure behind the eye.  This can also make the vision blurred or fluctuate when reading, using the computer, or driving.  This condition is seen in up to 20% of women and 7% of men.  There is thought to be a hormonal link to this condition.



The doctors at Capital Eye can diagnose Dry Eye Syndrome by careful examination with a special microscope, as well as performing several tests of tear secretion and evaporation.



The treatment of Dry Eye Syndrome varies by the severity of the condition.  For very mild cases, some Artificial Tear drops(such as Optive or Systane) occasionally may do the trick.  Some people simply need to increase their hydration by drinking more water or take a nutritional supplement such as Evening Primrose Oil.  


Others will need a prescription medication like Restasis (www.restasis.com/_learn_about/learn_home.htm) or even have the drains on the lids plugged using punctual plugs.  Our doctors will determine the best course of treatment for your particular case.  Remember this is a chronic condition in most people who have it, and it takes patience and considerable time to reverse its effects.

Other people may have an underlying systemic condition that needs to be addressed by a rheumotologist such as Sjogren’s Syndrome.


The Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation


Sjogren’s syndrome – MayoClinic.com