Dry eye is a term that describes insufficient moisture of the eyes, either because there is not sufficient tear production and/or the tear film has improper chemical composition.
In addition to causing discomfort, untreated dry eye can lead to other issues including light sensitivity, blurred vision, increased risk of infection, or damage to the corneal surface.
Dry eye often occurs during the natural aging process and is more common in women. It can also result from eyelid or blinking problems, certain medications (such as antihistamines, diuretics and antidepressants), climate (low humidity, wind, dust), injury and various health problems (Sjogren’s syndrome, some types of arthritis). Dry eye can vary from mild to severe.
Some symptoms include:
• Foreign body sensation
• Blurred vision
• Light sensitivity
Treatment for dry eye depends on the severity of the disease and the symptoms. Milder cases of dry eyes may respond to the use of artificial tears. More moderate or sever cases of dry eyes may benefit from increasing humidity at work or home,(humidifier) or using artificial tears, gels or ointments more frequently. Many cases of moderate to severe dry eye respond favorably to Restasis (Cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion 0.05%) which is a topical medication that may be beneficial in increasing and normalizing the tear film. Punctal plugs can also be utilized to block drainage of tears in order to keep them on the surface of the eye for a longer period of time.
In some cases of extreme dry eye that is not responding well to other treatments, autologous serum tears may be utilized. These tears are made using the patient’s serum, which is nearly identical in composition to their own tears.