Dry eye is the result of your body not being able to properly lubricate your eyes. This is due to either your eye not producing enough tears, or the tears that are produced by your eye being of low quality. Dry eye can be intermittent or persistent, and its symptoms are similar to those of allergic conjunctivitis or eye allergies.
Dry eye isn’t always curable, but it can almost always be managed so that the symptoms are mild at worst. It is important to note that successful management of the dry eye is contingent on you following the treatment plan as directed by our Optometrist.
Learn more about how we diagnose and treat dry eye.
There are numerous known causes and risk factors associated with dry eye, ranging from natural, to behavioral, or medically induced. These include:
Depending on the cause, there are numerous treatments for dry eye. These treatments include medication, artificial tears (lubrication), or physical treatments such as punctal plugs.
Cyclosporine, an anti-inflammatory, is the only prescription drug currently approved to treat dry eye. It works by increasing tear production, reducing both dry eye symptoms and corneal damage. It can take several months of continued use for its effects reach their maximum.
Artificial tears come in a variety of thicknesses and are used to provide lubrication to the eye. These may need to be applied multiple times per day, and the relief they provide is temporary. Thicker versions of artificial tears may cause temporary blurring of vision, meaning that they are best used when you are going to sleep.
Blocking the drainage canal of the eye is an effective way of forcing tears to stay on the eye longer, providing better lubrication and relief from dry eye symptoms. These are called punctal plugs.
Punctal plugs are generally not felt by the patient. Made from silicone or collagen, they are completely reversible and are relatively soft. If your case of dry eye is significant, a permanent version of these plugs may be used.
Alternatively, punctal surgery is a way to permanently close the drainage canals.