Dry Eye

Dry Eye, also called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), is a common condition characterized by improper tear production or low-quality tears. When your tears are unable to provide the adequate lubrication your eyes need to function, your eyes may become uncomfortable and vision could fluctuate. Approximately 12 million Americans suffer from dry eye syndrome. Its consequences range from subtle but consistent irritation to ocular inflammation of the anterior tissues of the eye. The condition is one of the most common disorders among people over 40. In fact, 20% of all adults have some degree of dry eye syndrome and women past menopause are especially susceptible.

For some people, the stinging, burning and redness may seem like little more than a nuisance. But, if left untreated, dry eye syndrome can lead to serious eye problems, including blindness. Dry eyes are inflamed eyes. Inflammation of the front surface of the eye increases the risk of infection and can also lead to scarring. Once scarring occurs, permanent loss of sight can occur.

Sufferers of dry eye syndrome may experience a range of symptoms that vary in severity including:

  • Burning
  • Stinging
  • Redness
  • Tired sensation
  • Excessive tearing

Who is at Risk?

  • Older people and women
  • Those with autoimmune diseases (Sjogrens syndrome)
  • Those taking medications including diuretics, beta-blockers, antihistamines, and antidepressants.
  • Patients with thyroid disease and diabetes
  • Prolonged screen time
  • Contact lens wear or eye surgery (LASIK)

Causes of Dry Eye

There are several causes of dry eye, ranging from dysfunction of the glands of the eye that produce tears to a defect in the tear film that coats the front surface of the eye.
Other causes can include:

  • Eye injuries
  • Eye infections
  • Glaucoma
  • Certain Medications such as birth control, pain relievers, decongestants or oral antibiotics
  • Diseases such as lupus or thyroid disease
  • Eye strain due to extended computer use
  • Wearing contact lenses for long hours
  • Living in a dry climate
  • Smoke exposure

Dry Eye Treatment Options

Treatment options range from prescription eye drops to lifestyle changes, and all have the goal of increasing the visual ability of the eye while promoting eye comfort.

All of the ophthalmologists at Montgomery Eye Center in Naples, FL, are able to detect dry eye during your exam and develop personalized treatment plans based on your symptoms.