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Dry Eye Syndrome, Part I (The EYE Digest)

-The EYE Digest-

Dry Eye Syndrome, Part I

Greetings! This edition of The EYE Digest will focus on Dry Eye Syndrome (aka keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), dysfunctional tear syndrome or lacrimal keratoconjunctivitis).

It is estimated that nearly half of adult Americans over the age of 18 years old suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome in some capacity! In fact, A 2012 Gallup poll state that 26 million Americans suffer from dry eyes.

Dry eye syndrome is caused by a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye, which occurs from either a lack of quantity or quality of tears.   This causes subsequent
inflammation and discomfort of the front surface of the eye, specifically the cornea.

In order to fully understand dry eye syndrome and why it occurs; we will take a look at the symptoms, causes, types and treatments of Dry Eye Syndrome.


What are the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome?

  • Tearing or excessive watering of the eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Irritation in windy conditions
  • Scratchy/gritty feeling
  • Foreign body sensation (the feeling that a particle is in your eye)
  • Heavy eyelids
  • Uncomfortable contact lenses

What causes Dry Eye Syndrome to occur?

  • Environmental factors (dust, fans, dry climates)
  • Prolonged computer/tablet/digital device use
  • Medications
    • Allergy/decongestant medicine
    • High blood pressure medication
    • Birth Control
    • Antidepressants
  • Contact Lenses
  • Smoking
  • Hormonal fluctuations – especially menopause in women
  • Health conditions
    •  Sjogren’s
    • Diabetes
    • Lupus
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis

What are the types of Dry Eye Syndrome?

  • Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye Syndrome – deficiency of water layer due to lack of production in the lacrimal (tear) gland
  • Lipid Deficient Dry Eye Syndrome – deficiency of oil layer in tear film due to obstructed/inflamed Meibomian (oil) glands

Now that we have a basis for what Dry Eye Syndrome is and what it involves, we can now delve into treatments and management of the disease.

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Treatment includes:

  • Artificial tears
  • Omega 3 supplementation
  • Hydration/Humidifying
  • Avoiding environmental factors
  • Warm compresses
  • Lid scrubs
  • Punctal collagen plugs (in office procedure)
  • Prescription medication
  • Nighttime ointment

In the upcoming weeks we will have a more in-depth discussion on treatments and remedies for Dry Eye Syndrome listed above, as well as a comprehensive look at the tear film, an important component involved in Dry Eye Syndrome as we delve into Part II and III of our Dry Eye Syndrome articles.

Stay Tuned!

If you have any questions about what you read, or if you want to schedule an appointment to have your dry eyes checked; do not hesitate to call us at (650) 948-3700.

-Dr. Aaron Neufeld


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