Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye can range from mild and annoying, to severe and vision threatening. It is not only uncomfortable, it can cause permanent damage to the eye. Even when not severe, dry eye can have a significant impact on quality of life. We believe it is a condition that is often not given enough attention.
We treat dry eye in an individual and tailored approach, depending upon patient symptoms and wishes. Treatment may be conservative and stepwise, or in severe cases, a much more aggressive approach is used. In more severe cases, a medical workup coordinated with the patient’s primary care doctor may be indicated to look for associated or underlying systemic conditions. Regardless of the cause of the dry eye, we can almost always find a regimen that will greatly improve symptoms and dryness of the eye.
Dry eye is a treatable problem, and regardless of the cause, we can almost always find a way to significantly improve the symptoms of our patients.
Who is at risk for Dry Eye?
- women more than men
- older people
- those with rheumatologic or autoimmune disease (Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid disease, etc.)
- those who take certain medications (some blood pressure, anti-depressant, decongestant, anti-anxiety, Parkinson’s medications, and many others)
- contact lens wearers and former contact lens wearers
- those who live in dry environments
What are the symptoms of Dry Eye?
- fluctuating vision, especially with activities that require some concentration (reading, computer use, driving, watching TV, near hobbies like sewing, etc.)
- irritation of the eyes, feeling that something is in the eye, “gravel-like” sensation in the eye
- redness of the eyes
How is Dry Eye treated?
- artificial tears are the first-line of treatment, sometimes we recommend a specific type or preservative-free tears depending upon patient needs
- oral omega-3-fatty acid supplements which have been proven to be of benefit
- treatment of eyelid rim oil gland inflammation (blepharitis), that is commonly seen with dry eye
- lifestyle modification (humidifiers, positioning of vents/fans/computer screens, etc.)
- consultation with primary care doctor if modification of other medications is possible
- lubricating gel or ointment
- topical medication: Restasis® and Xiidra
- topical steroid drops
- punctal plugs
- moisturizing capsules: Lacriserts®
- Albumin drops prepared by compounding pharmacy
- autologous serum tears: artificial tears specially formulated by a laboratory from the patient’s own serum (for more severe dry eye)
- Prokera – a biologic bandage contact lens made of cryopreserved amniotic tissue to reduce inflammation and promote healing of the surface of the eye
- oral medications
- consultation with primary care doctor for evaluation and treatment of other systemic conditions that may be underlying dry eye
- moisture goggles for overnight wear
This list is not exhaustive. We can always try another approach or combination.
Please call our office at (847) 497-2020 for more information of if you would like to schedule an appointment.
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