Is There a Cure for Dry Eye Syndrome?

Just as the name implies, dry eyes in fact leave the eyes feeling dry due to a lack of tear production, or in some cases, an overproduction of tears. For dry eye syndrome, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, dry eyes occur because the eyes do not create enough tears or because of poor quality of tears that do not fully and properly coat the eyes. 

Eyes require lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eyes for protection and nutrition. When dry eye occurs, the eyes are left vulnerable to bacterial infection, and in severe cases, scarring of the cornea. Common symptoms of dry eyes include burning, redness, fatigued eyes, the feeling that something gritty is in the eye, stringy mucus, difficulty reading, light sensitivity and blurred vision. Typically, over the counter eye drops provide relief for dry eye symptoms. Prescription medications may be given by your doctor in the form of Restasis (an anti-inflammatory commonly prescribed to increase tears to reduce potential damage to the cornea). Corticosteroid eye drops are another prescription medication option to help alleviate the feeling of dry eyes. 

Dry eye syndrome is common and affects nearly 16 million Americans. Rarely does someone lose their vision to dry eye syndrome. In addition to eye drops and prescription medications, there are other cures for dry eye syndrome. Sometimes dry eyes resolve on their own but usually if dry eyes persist after eye drops and medications, your eye doctor may suggest either tear duct plugs or surgery. Tear duct plugs, also called punctal plugs or lacrimal plugs, are tiny biocompatible devices that block drainage in the tear ducts of the eye. Tear ducts plugs are available in semi-permanent and dissolvable options. Surgery options include cauterization, amniotic membrane, intense pulsed light therapy, laser surgery and salivary gland transplantation. As surgery for dry eyes is rare, your doctor will likely exhaust all other possibilities for curing dry eyes, including home remedies and lifestyle changes, before resorting to surgery. 

If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms, find relief at Kalamazoo Ophthalmology. Our team of doctors can offer simple tests to determine the cause of your dry eyes and provide solutions to getting you feeling and seeing better quickly. Call today at 269-329-5860 or schedule your appointment online WEBSITE through our list of available options.