Conditions and Treatments
Dry eye is a common condition that occurs when the eyes are insufficiently moisturized, leading to itching, redness and pain from dry spots on the surface of the eye. The eyes may become dry and irritated because the tear ducts don't produce enough tears, or because of a chemical imbalance in the tears.
Dry eyes is known by many names including, keratitis or Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), xerophthalmia, Dry Eye Syndrome (DES), or simply dry eyes. Contributing causes include exposure to environmental irritants, injuries to the eyes, blepharitis and some general health conditions, like arthritis and diabetes.
Some other causes of dry eye include exposure to sun, wind, cold or hot dry air, indoor heating, air conditioning and high altitudes.
Dry eye syndrome is more common, in the older population, particularly in women during and after menopause, due to a decrease or change in hormone levels. Medications can also be a factor, like antihistamines and decongestants, some blood pressure medication, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication.
Systemic diseases that can contribute to dry eye problems, includes: thyroid problems, Sjorgrens syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disorders (i.e. Lupus) and myasthenia gravis.
The severity and symptoms of dry eye vary from person to person. There are three degrees of dryness: mild, moderate, and severe. Symptoms of dry eye include: redness, burning, itching, scratchiness, tearing, sensitivity to light and mucus secretion.
Dr. Miranda may prescribe one or more of the following:
- Artificial tears or gel supplements and lubricating ointment as supplements
- Temporal or permanent plugging the tear ducts (drainage system)
- Prescription medication (Restasis) for chronic, moderate to severe dry eyes
Preventing Dry Eye
There are certain steps patients can take to prevent the symptoms of dry eye from occurring, which is especially useful for those at an increased risk of developing symptoms. Simple lifestyle modifications such as wearing protective glasses on windy days, giving your eyes a break during reading or other strenuous tasks can effectively reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms.
Dr. Miranda will provide you with instructions as to how you can avoid the symptoms of dry eye based on your individual condition.