Dry eye syndrome is a common disease in which the eye under-produces tears or tears leave the eye too quickly. A normal functioning eye constantly produces tears to form a tear film which acts as moisturizer and lubricant. For someone with dry eye, the resulting lack of moisture and lubrication can cause a variety of problems.
*Though it sounds contradictory, sometimes the eye will actually produce excessive tears and overflow. The eye becomes irritated by the lack of lubrication and attempts to cleanse itself with a flood of tears. This is a similar phenomenon to the tearing that occurs when foreign matter is stuck in one’s eye.
Dry eye syndrome is typically more common in older people and women; however, there are many other factors that can cause this to happen. A common cause of dry eye can be over the counter and prescription medications such as antihistamines, beta-blockers, sleeping pills, pain relievers and many others. Overuse of diuretics can also play a role in developing dry eye. For this reason, it is very important to inform your doctor about any medications you are currently taking, which can help the doctor in the proper diagnosis of the disease.
Dry eyes can be diagnosed through a medical eye exam. Testing with emphasis on the evaluation of the quantity and quality of tears produced by the eyes may include:
The information obtained from the dry eye ancillary tests will determine your customized dry eye treatment options.
Controlling one’s environment: Patients should avoid situations in which tears evaporate quickly; for example, by using a humidifier in a dry house, wearing wrap-around glasses in the wind and not smoking.