Dry Eye Care

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What is dry eye?

Dry eye is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Usually, your eyes make a steady stream of moist tears that coat your eyes as you blink. Tears consist of the lipid (oil) layer, the aqueous (water) layer, and the mucin layer. The lipid layer prevents tear evaporation, while the aqueous layer provides moisture and nourishment to the eye. If a person can't produce enough tears to maintain healthy, comfortable eyes, they have dry eyes.

What causes dry eye?

Some causes of dry eye include side effects from medications for allergies, anxiety, beta-blockers and blood pressure, diseases like thyroid disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Lifestyle causes include dry climates, smoky environments, long-term contact lens use, looking at computers, smartphones, tablets, and engaging in activities that reduce blinking.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include regular irritation, itching, burning, stinging, excessive tearing, redness, and tiredness. Sometimes blurry vision and even sensitivity to light will also occur.

How is dry eye diagnosed?

A comprehensive evaluation including tests for dry eye will help determine which type of dry eye you have.

What are the treatments?

There are several treatments. Artificial tears (non-prescription eye drops) and other newer prescription eye drops are used to replace your tears' moisture and oil concentrate. Other options include, silicone (punctual) plugs are inserted in the tear ducts to stop the tears from draining as fast, thus keeping more tears on the eye for a more extended period. Cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion 0.05% eyedrops, typically known as Restasis (a prescription eye drop), can increase tear production.

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