The name pretty much says it all; dry eye syndrome occurs when a patient has chronically dry eyes for no obvious reason. It is a chronic disease and usually progresses no matter what treatments are tried; it can be managed but not cured. In some cases, dry eyes are connected to other conditions like thyroid disease or Sjogren's syndrome, which is an immune system disorder that also affects the salivary glands. Dry eye syndrome is more likely to occur in older people.
Aside from dry eyes, which cause a stinging or burning sensation or a feeling of having grit in the eye, dry eye syndrome can also cause pain and redness. Some patients report periods of excess tears alternating with dry periods or an inability to cry even when emotionally upset. Eye fatigue and an inability to work for long periods of any activity that requires sustained visual attention are common symptoms. When dry eye syndrome first begins, many of these symptoms may be very subtle; it often takes a while to determine if the problem is dry eye syndrome.
Treatments vary according to the cause. For example, if dry eyes are the result of thyroid problems, that condition must be treated. The use of lubricating eye drops, gels or ointments is a very common form of treatment. Restasis is a prescription form that not only lubricates the eyes but decreases inflammation. A device called a punctal plug can seal off the tear duct, which helps keep the surface of the eye wet. Other treatments are also available. Lubricating eye drops, gels and ointments are readily available without a prescription. Glasses or sunglasses with side shields can help prevent evaporation. People with dry eyes should take frequent breaks when performing close work, remember to blink their eyes frequently and avoid becoming dehydrated.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!