Dry eye syndrome (D.E.S.) is caused by a failure to produce the necessary quality or quantity of tears to protect and preserve the ocular surface of the eyes. Those with D.E.S. do not have a sufficient amount of tears to adequately bathe the eyes and therefore often complain of irritated scratchy stingy and/or red eyes. In severe cases many even suffer from decreased visual acuity. Some patients will also complain of watery eyes which can be the result of the eye s attempt to replenish its tear supply. Insufficient lubrication can eventually lead to a compromise in the health and integrity of the corneal surface reducing its ability to act as a barrier to infection.
D.E.S. is a common condition among:
At age 65,the eye produces approximately 60% fewer tears than it did at age 18.
Three thin layers make up the healthy tear film that coats and protects the eye.
When tears lack the important components shown above or when too few tears are produced the tear film can break down. This breakdown produces dry spots on the cornea causing the symptoms associated with dry eye.
Surprisingly dry eye syndrome does not always cause dry eyes. Burning or itching eyes a gritty feeling in the eyes presence of stringy mucus discharge excessive tearing and increased sensitivity to light are common symptoms of dry eyes. It is often difficult to wear contact lenses when there is a flare-up because the contact lenses absorb many of the tears leaving a diminished quantity to bathe the eyes.
The tear film is essential to protect your eyes and treatment will provide more comfort. Your eyecare practitioner uses simple tests to assess the quantity and quality of the tear film. Depending on the severity of your condition tear replacement is the most commonly recommended therapy - this involves the use of lubricant eye drops. The primary goal of treatment is to keep the eye moist and comfortable and to protect the eye s delicate surface. There are many brands of artificial tears available on the market but not all are equally effective. Depending on the cause and severity of dry eye your optometrist can select the product that will most successfully relieve the problems of dry eye.
Another therapy of benefit in certain cases is the use of plugs made out of collagen for temporary use and of silicone for more permanent use that partially block the tear drainage ducts. This reduces the drainage of tears away from the eye and maximizes the time in which the tears are in contact with the eye. Some simple remedies that can help those with mild to moderate D.E.S. include:
TAKE A DRY EYE TEST AT DRY EYES TREATMENT CLINIC IN CALGARY
Mission Eye Care Centre
180, 2206 - 2nd Street SW
Telephone: (403) 440-1234