Dry eye is a lack of moisture or lubrication in the eyes. This syndrome affects the tear film and the production of natural tears. It can be caused by certain factors including: the natural aging process, extended contact lens wear, certain environmental factors, and even some cold medicines.
If you are experiencing a dry and scratchy feeling or a burning sensation in your eyes you may be suffering from dry eye syndrome. It is important to make an appointment with a Vance Thompson Vision dry eye specialist in order to determine if you are suffering from dry eyes. During this appointment certain tests will be conducted to determine the severity of the dryness. Patients can rest assured that they are be treated by some of the best dry eye doctors in the world right here at Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Alison Tendler, M.D., has worked on various Restasis® projects designed to help patients manage their dry eye syndrome.
What causes dry eye?
The exact cause of dry eye syndrome is still being researched, but there are many known factors that may play a role in the development of dry eye syndrome. Some prescription medications and over the counter medicines can cause dry eyes, as well as extended contact lens wear, and certain environmental factors. Smokers are also at risk for developing dry eye syndrome. Also, certain diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjögren’s Syndrome can also cause dry eyes.
The Tear Film
In order to fully understand dry eye syndrome it is very important to understand how the tear film functions. The tear film is made up of three distinct layers: an oily, a watery, and a muncin layer. There are small meibomian glands on the perimeter of the eyelid to produce the oily layer, which smooths the tear surface and decreases the evaporation of tears. The watery layer is the largest layer. Located in the middle, it makes up most of what we think of as tears. The inner muncin layer allows the watery layer to spread evenly over the eye. Without this layer tears would not stick to the eye.
How is dry eye treated?
While there is no cure for dry eye syndrome, there are certain treatment options available to help reduce the effects of dry eye including:
- Dry eye drops – Over the counter artificial tear drops can provide short-term relief for dry eyes without a prescription.
- Flax seed oil tablets or oil –Flax seed oil can minimize the effects. It has been determined that ingesting the oil is better than taking the tablets because of how it is absorbed into your system.
- Punctal Plugs – punctal plugs are inserted to help with the natural tear flow.
- Nutraceuticals or dry eye vitamins – Certain vitamins have been shown to significantly help dry eye syndrome. The vitamins are also a good source of other essential minerals, and in most cases consistent usage is required for results.
- Restasis® – This is a prescription medicine that can make a big impact on treating dry eye. Please consult our office directly if you have heard about Restasis® and would like more information.
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