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The name "dry eye" can be a little confusing since one of the most common symptoms is excessive watering! It makes more sense, though, when you learn that the eye makes two different types of tears.
Types of tears:
1. Lubricating tears.
Produced slowly and steadily throughout the day. Lubricating tears contain a precise balance of mucous, water, oil, nutrient proteins, and antibodies that nourish and protect the front surface of the eye.
2. Reflex tears.
The second type of tear called a reflex tear, does not have much lubricating value. Reflex tears serve as a kind of emergency response to flood the eye when it is suddenly irritated or injured. Reflex tears might occur when you get something in your eye when you're cutting onions, when you're around smoke, or when you accidentally scratch your eye. The reflex tears gush out in such large quantities that the tear drainage system can't handle them all and they spill out onto your cheek. Still another cause of reflex tearing is irritation of the eye from lack of lubricating tears. If your eye is not producing enough lubricating tears, you have a dry eye.
Symptoms:● Watery eyes.● The feeling that there's sand in your eyes.● Eyes that itch and burn.● Vision becomes blurred after periods of reading, watching TV, or using a computer.● Red, irritated eyes that produce a mucus discharge.
Your eye doctor can check for dry eye by examining your eyes with magnifying instruments, measuring your rate of tear production and checking the amount of time it takes for tears to evaporate between blinks. The doctor can also check for pinpoint scratches on the front surface of the eye caused by dryness using special, colored eyedrops called Fluorescein or Rose Bengal, and equipment such as TearLab Osmolarity Test for revealing tear film osmolarity.
Treatments for dry eye:
The most common treatment is the use of artificial teardrops that help make up for the lack of natural lubricating tears. Artificial tear products come in liquid form, longer lasting gel-form and long-lasting ointment form, which is most often recommended for nighttime use. Many different brands of artificial tears are available over-the-counter. Some contain preservatives and some do not. Preservative Free Artificial Tears may be recommended for people whose eyes are sensitive to preservatives. Artificial tears can generally be used as often as needed, from a few times per day to every few minutes. You should follow the regimen your doctor recommends. When infection, inflammation of the eyelids or clogged oil glands contribute to dry eye, special lid cleaning techniques or antibiotics may be recommended. It may also help to avoid hot, dry or windy environments or to humidify the air in your home or office.
Restasis is an exciting new treatment for Dry Eye Disease. Restasis drops help the eyes produce more tears by reducing inflammation, which is often a cause of dry eye. Unlike artificial tears, Restasis is the first drug proven to effectively treat a cause of Dry Eye Disease rather than only temporarily alleviate symptoms.
Xiidra is a new FDA approved eye drop that marks a new day in treatment options for patients with dry eye disease, with the only prescription eye drop approved in the U.S. specifically to treat both the signs and symptoms of the condition, instead of just the symptoms like other leading dry eye therapy drops on the market. For more information on Xiidra please visit https://www.myeyelove.com/
EyePromise EZ Tears is a daily supplement for occasional dry eye and irritation. You can find it in our office.
Punctal occlusion is a medical treatment for dry eye that may enable your eyes to make better and longer use of the few lubricating tears they do produce.
Hunkeler Eye Institute, P.A.
7950 College Blvd. Suite B
Overland Park, KS 66210
Monday- Friday: 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Saturday and Sunday: Closed