Dry eye syndrome, or keratitis sicca, occurs when our bodies have difficulty producing a sufficient volume of quality tears; our tears are comprised of three different components that work together to keep our eyes comfortable, and when these components become unbalanced or if they aren’t produced in a high enough volume we will often experience dry eye-related discomfort.
Inflammation of the lacrimal gland is the most common cause of insufficient tear volume that leads to dry eye syndrome. Meibomian gland dysfunction, or inflammation of the glands at the eyelid margin, contributes to poor tear quality. Certain medications or hormonal changes can also cause our eyes to become dry and uncomfortable.
Dry eye syndrome is common, and symptoms vary to the point that not all cases of dry eye will look the same. Symptoms of dry eye syndrome include, but are not limited to:
For those experiencing dry eye, a variety of treatment options are available to help your eyes become comfortable again.
Artificial tears are often used in mild cases of dry eyes. Not all artificial tear brands work the same or are effective in all cases. More severe case require additional treatment. If you find yourself using your artificial tears three or more times a day you should use a preservative free tear. Patients often find that artificial tears do help, but that the soothing affect is only temporary.
Punctal occlusion is another effective option for the treatment of dry eyes. The puncta are the small openings found on the edge of the upper and lower eyelids next to the nose. Tears drain out of the eye through the puncta into the nose: this is why your nose runs when you cry. In cases where dry eye is caused by insufficient tear volume, punctal occlusion helps individuals to retain the tears that are being produced and preventing them from being drained away. Punctal occlusion is painless and performed in the office, taking only a couple of minutes.
If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eye syndrome in Bay City, West Branch, or Midland, Michigan, visit one of our convenient locations for expert diagnostic and treatment services, as well as more information on the treatment options available to manage your dry eyes.