Dry Eyes &
Dry Eye Problems

When most people experience dry eyes or have dry eye problems they mainly think about the common symptoms that cause discomfort such as dryness, grittiness or burning and do not even realize that in order to have normal vision, it is critical to have a sufficient quantity of healthy tears on the surface of the eye at all times.
What is Dry Eye?

Dry Eye is a condition in which there is a deficiency of the tear film that is due to either an insufficient production of natural tears or an excessive evaporation of tears. Systemic conditions such as Sjorgren’s Syndrome or autoimmune connective tissue diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus Erythematosus, inflammation of the Lacrimal Gland, long term contact lens wear, past eye infections, medications such as antihistamines or allergy medicine, blood pressure medicine, certain allergies and even vitamin deficiencies may decrease the quantity of tears that you produce. Your tears may evaporate too quickly if you suffer from low-grade eyelid inflammation, called blepharitis, which is often caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), a problem within the tiny tubular glands in your eyelids. Hormonal changes make perimenopausal woman particularly susceptible to dry eyes. Whether you suffer from insufficient production of tears or excessive evaporation of tears, or both, you may experience a decrease in the quantity and quality of your tear film resulting in the surface of the eye being affected.

Dry Eye Symptoms

The symptoms of dry eyes can include a scratchy, dry, sandy or gritty feeling that can be accompanied by a stringy, clear, white discharge with noticeable pain and redness. The most common dry eye symptoms include:

  • Stinging or Burning
  • Grittiness or Scratchiness
  • Stringy Mucus
  • Contact Lens Discomfort
  • Blurred or Fluctuating Vision
  • Pain
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Tired Eyes
  • Foreign Body or Sand in the Eye
  • Excess Tearing
  • Redness of the Eye
  • Heavy Eyelids
  • Less Ability to Do Prolonged Reading or Computer Work
Diagnosis of Dry Eye
Diagnosis of dry eye problems requires a careful eye exam. We will thoroughly review your medical history, eye history and eye conditions including any medications that you are taking. Please be sure to tell us about all of the medications you take or have taken recently, including not only the ones prescribed, but those that you may have purchases on your own at the pharmacy. We will use a microscopic technique to observe the height of the tear film as well a clinical test called a Schirmer Test along with specially formulated dyes such as Fluorescein, Lissamine and Rose Bengal to help investigate the functioning of the various layers of the tear film as well as the underlying surface of the eye. This is not uncomfortable and will not interfere with your vision.