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Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

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Symptoms, remedies and relief for dry eyes

Posted by on in Allergy
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140414OSM ItchyEyes 1Dry eye syndrome is a common medical condition that many people experience at some point in their lives. Nearly everyone has varying degrees of the condition, because tear production often diminishes with age. Dry eye symptoms are usually classified as mild, moderate or severe, with severe cases leading to a diminished quality of life.

What are the causes?

Common causes include a lack of adequate tears, environmental factors, eyelid problems, medications and prolonged eye use with decreased blink rate, which can occur while reading or using a computer.

What are tears made of?

Our tears are a complex mixture of water, oil and mucous. The mixture serves a dual function: It keeps the surface of the eye smooth and clear, and it protects the eye from infection. While some experience an imbalance in the composition of their tears, others don’t produce enough tears to keep their eyes lubricated.

Who may struggle with tear production?

  • People older than 50
  • Contact lens wearers
  • People who’ve had laser eye surgery
  • Postmenopausal woman
  • Those with medical conditions that affect tear production, especially auto-immune disorders

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Irritation
  • Tearing
  • Burning
  • Stinging
  • Dry or foreign body sensation
  • Mild itching
  • Blurry vision
  • Contact lens intolerance
  • Redness
  • Mucous discharge
  • Increased frequency of blinking
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye symptoms that worsen later in the day

Conditions that make dry eye worse

  • Wind
  • Air travel
  • Decreased humidity
  • Prolonged visual efforts associated with blinking less often such as reading, computer use or driving

Treatment options

In mild cases of dry eyes, antihistamine, glaucoma medications and certain drops, such as Visine (that take the red out), may worsen the condition. In all cases, artificial tear substitutes, gels and ointments are the mainstay treatments. In moderate cases, a special anti-inflammatory agent of topic cyclosporine is used. In severe cases, a doctor may suggest tear duct closure with a small plug to reduce tear loss or covering the eyes with a special contact lens. We encourage you to talk with us about proper treatment for your dry eye symptoms.

Tagged in: Dry Eye Syndrome

An energetic problem solver, Dr. Kraig Jacobson has spent his career treating patients and teaching about the complexities of allergy, asthma and immunology. He has practiced medicine in Eugene since 1979. The bigger the challenge, the more he enjoys his work.