One of the most common complaints reported to optometrists and ophthalmologists is that the patient has burning, stinging eyes or even the feeling that ‘there is something in the eye’. Other common, yet surprising, symptoms are sensitivity to light and watery eyes.
Dry Eyes are caused by a lack of tear production or tear evaporation. This can be influenced by environmental factors, medications, and even physical changes within the body such as a systemic disease or condition. For example, wind, sand, smoke, allergies, hormones, Vitamin A deficiency, auto-immune disorders.
Some patients experience dry eyes when wearing contact lenses. While the addition of artificial tears to the daily contact lens regimen can be helpful in treating the dry eyes, some patients will need to be refit with daily disposable contact lenses as they increase moisture and have better comfort, without the addition of the tears and extra preservatives which can cause other eye irritations.
Many patients present with a complaint of watering eyes and are surprised to learn that they have dry eyes. This seems contradictory however the eye waters in direct response to irritation. The excess tears are created to flood the eye and is similar to crying. However, this is a short term response by the body and these tears have no true lubrication properties to counteract the dry eye syndrome.
Treatment of dry eyes begins with the use of artificial tears on a regular basis. If the patient does not find comfort in this simple method of treatment then the optometrist or ophthalmologist may elect to place punctal plugs in order to keep the naturally occurring tears on the eye and stop them from draining away. Other treatments for dry eye are prescription drops, fish oil supplements, sleep masks, and in severe cases of irritation bandage contact lenses are used.
Most dry eyes do not have to cause suffering as they are easily treated and the doctors and technicians of the Eye Center of North Florida are well trained in the treatment of this condition. Please feel free to discuss your dry eyes with us so that we can help you feel more comfortable.