Dry eye syndrome is a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture in the eye. Its consequences extend from subtle but constant irritation to ocular inflammation of the anterior (front) tissues of the eye. If you wear contact lenses, it can be particularly bothersome, causing many people to discontinue or reduce wearing time.
Dry eye syndrome has several causes. It may occur as a part of the natural aging process, especially during menopause. It may be a side effect of such medications as antihistamines, antidepressants and birth control pills, or because you live in a dry, dusty or windy climate. Dry eyes may also be due to systemic diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogren’s syndrome (a triad of dry eyes, dry mouth, and rheumatoid arthritis or lupus). It may also just be a long-term consequence of wearing contact lenses.
Dry eye syndrome is an ongoing condition that cannot be cured, but the accompanying dryness, scratching and burning can be managed. Your eyecare practitioner may prescribe artificial tears, lubricating eye drops that may alleviate the dry, scratching feeling.
Sometimes too much moisture drains out of the eye through the lacrimal (tear) ducts. Temporary or permanent silicone plugs in the lacrimal ducts usually solve this problem very well. This treatment can be very effective and we can perform this for you in the office.