Dry Eye Syndrome
It's Red, It's Itchy, It's Watery!
It is estimated that over 30 million Americans have dry eye symptoms. Due to low humidity and high altitude, Dry Eye Syndrome is especially common and severe in Colorado. To better help the residents of Colorado, Vision Institute has recently been selected to perform our seventh dry eye research study. If you feel you are experiencing dry eye syndrome, some of your symptoms may be: itching, burning, scratching, watering, redness, blurred vision, foreign body sensation, and stickiness while awakening.
Our tear film has three layers. The top, oily layer functions to prevent evaporation. The middle layer is a watery layer which keeps our eyes moist and contains nutrients and germ-fighting agents. Underneath the mucous layer promotes coating and tear adhesion. If any of these layers do not function properly, then Dry Eye Syndrome can result.
Diagnosis is the first step to combat Dry Eye Syndrome, because some symptoms are confusing. A common question we hear is, “How can my eyes be dry when they are watering?” When the eye is dry, the brain signals to flood the eye to repair the deficit. Surprisingly, to treat this watering you must increase lubrication in the eyes, just as you do to treat other dry eye symptoms.
One way to increase lubrication is by placing tiny plugs in the puncta (punctal plugs). This allows our eyes to keep the tears we make on our eyes, instead of draining away through the puncta. Decreasing inflammation in our tear glands can also increase our tear production. This is achieved through moisture chamber goggles, increased fluid intake, monitoring medications for drying effect, omega-3 supplementation, and eyelid hygiene.
Dry Eye Syndrome is a problem that can be treated. You do not need to endure discomfort when you can see an eye care specialist for relief.