Dry eye syndrome results from chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. Its consequences range from minor irritations, to the inability to wear contact lenses and an increased risk of corneal inflammation and eye infections.
The most common symptoms of dry eyes are scratchy gritty feeling, burning, and tearing or watering. Some people also describe a “foreign body sensation” – a feeling that something is in the eyes. Ironically, the symptom of tearing results from the body’s way of keeping the eye from having the dry feeling. Most patients are surprised to learn that their “watery eyes” may be from having “dry eyes.” Dry eye syndrome is also associated with medical conditions and medications. Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea or Sjogren’s syndrome is a few of the common medical conditions. Allergy medications, nasal sprays, birth control pills, and medications for depression and high blood pressure are also culprits for having dry eye symptoms.
Contact lens wearers are at a higher risk for having dry eye complaints especially if they sleep in their contacts or do not change them regularly. The treatment for dry eyes depends on the severity of the symptoms. Technology has advanced to allow us to perform tests which allow us to know if the dryness is related to improper cell function, or if it is from the inadequate function of the tear glands in the eyelids. In either case, using eye drops, plugging the tear ducts, eyelid massages, and new advanced techniques including the use of amniotic tissue membrane are available to help relieve the aggravating symptoms of dry eyes. Amniotic tissue membranes help to revitalize the cells of the cornea and promote healing. If you are having any of the symptoms above, you may have chronic dry eye syndrome. Check your medications to see if any of them list dry eyes as a related side-effect. Ask your doctor or pharmacist when they prescribe new medications if they cause dry eyes. If you are in need of a dry eye evaluation or treatment, I urge you to speak with your eye care provider. You do not have to suffer any longer. Your symptoms could be a day away from being resolved. I would love to evaluate and see if some of the newer treatment options are beneficial for you. If you are in need of an eye care provider, I invite you to visit EnVision Eye Care. 321 W. Montgomery Crossroads, Savannah (near Hunter Golf Course) For appointments, call (912) 927-0707