Dry Eye Syndromecauses, symptoms and treatments

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Last updated 9/19/2023

What is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye is an eye condition that occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or when the quality of your tears is compromised. 

 

Tears are crucial in keeping your eyes lubricated, comfortable, and protected. They help nourish the front surface of your eyes, wash away debris, and prevent infections. When you do not produce enough tears ‌because of blockages, evaporation, or other causes, dry eye may become a serious chronic problem.

How common is dry eye?

 

Dry eye causes symptoms and treatment, Assil Gaur Eye Institute Los Angeles

Dry eye complications are a common problem, even for those with otherwise healthy eyes, and are one of the most common reasons people visit the eye doctor. Dry eye can occur at any age and affects women more often than men.

 

In the past 20 years, dry eye has become a growing problem due to air travel, poor air quality, environmental allergies, and the increased use of computers and contact lenses.

 

Chronic dry eye can lead to serious long-term consequences. If left untreated, it can cause significant discomfort leading to scarring and increased infections that may result in vision loss.

 

What causes dry eye? 

The most common causes and risk factors of dry eye include:

  • Age: tear production normally decreases with age; 75% of persons over 65 have dry eye
  • Contact lenses: It’s important to follow the direction of your prescribing physician when it comes to contact lens use.
  • Environmental Factors: wind, dust, smoke, hot, dry weather
  • Decreased blinking: reading or watching screens (cell phone, computer, etc.), reduces the quantity and quality of our tear film
  • Allergies: hay fever, pollen, dust, and animals
  • Medications: antihistamines, antidepressants, hormones, blood pressure medications, diuretics, and even some over-the-counter medications
  • Medical conditions: rosacea, diabetes, Sjogren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hormonal changes: due to pregnancy, contraceptive use, or menopause
  • Vitamin A or beta-carotene deficiency
  • History of Accutane use, chemotherapy, or radiation
  • Laser vision correction has been linked with temporary dry eye symptoms
  • Blepharitis: inflammation along the base of the eyelashes and lid margin adds debris to the tear film.
  • Incomplete eyelid closure: following eyelid surgery, or occurring naturally with wide-set eyes, can cause eye dryness.

 

What are dry eye symptoms?

Common symptoms of dry eye include:

  • Burning, pain, or soreness inside or around the eyes
  • Sandy or a gritty feeling of a foreign substance in your eye
  • Red or itchy eyes
  • Light sensitivity or episodes of blurred vision, usually worse at the end of the day

  • Occasional or constant tearing (watery eyes)

  • Eye fatigue

  • Decreased contact lens tolerance or increased contact lens discomfort

 

Schedule your consultation today with the internationally recognized doctors at Assil Gaur Eye Institute

 

What is the treatment for dry eye? 

Dry eye treatments fall into three categories that can be prescribed based on the severity of your symptoms and your response to your individualized treatment plan. They include:

 

Lifestyle modifications 

 

Lifestyle modifications are the first line of treatment and include:

    • limiting your computer screen time
    • wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from the wind while outside
    • taking a break from contact lens wear
    • being meticulous about makeup removal
    • placing warm compresses on your eyes to stimulate oil gland function
    • scrubbing the eyelid margins to remove debris at the eyelash root thoroughly
    • adding Omega-3 fatty acid supplements or flaxseed helps fight inflammation and provides essential fatty acids that aid the function of your eyelid oil glands.

 

Medication 

Some medications we recommend include preservative-free tears, gels, and ointments. Bedtime ointments are prescribed for more severe dry eyes and people whose eyelids don’t close at night.

 

The inflammation fighters 

The underlying problem with dry eye is a persistent inflammation of the cornea and the inner lining of your eyelids. Anti-inflammatory treatments include corticosteroids, Restasis, Xiidra, Tacrolimus, and oral doxycycline.

 

Oculocin eye drops 

This advanced organic eye drop was developed in Europe and contains familiar natural ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, and propolis, which have been used for centuries to treat inflammation and infection.

 

We’re pleased to have been asked to serve as Los Angeles County’s exclusive provider of Oculocin.

 

Autologous serum eye drops

Autologous serum eye drops are a treatment for severe dry eyes made from your own blood. Here's how it works: a small amount of your blood is taken, and the red and white blood cells are removed, leaving behind a serum. This serum is rich in nutrients and growth factors that can help to heal the surface of your eye and improve symptoms of dry eyes. The serum is then diluted with a sterile, preservative-free solution to make eye drops.

 

Because they're made from your own blood, these drops are generally well tolerated and can be very helpful for people with severe dry eyes. Note that ASEDs are not tear substitutes and are often used in conjunction with other treatments.

 

Advanced minimally invasive procedures for dry eye 

If lifestyle changes and medications do not relieve dry eye symptoms, our doctor may recommend minimally invasive procedures to help manage the condition.

 

DELIT for Dry Eye 

DELIT (Dry Eye Light Intense Therapy) was coined at our Eye Institute and was developed by modifying an FDA-approved platform called Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy, initially developed for cosmetic use. By superheating the area around your eyes, IPL kills germs, suppresses inflammation, and shrinks blood vessels that could be pressing on and blocking oil ducts. 

 

Learn more about DELIT for dry eyes.

 

BLEPHEX 

BLEPHEX is a new in-office procedure for treating eyelid inflammation (known as blepharitis). The procedure eliminates the biofilm and bacterial toxins that cause eyelid inflammation and dry eye and improves the overall health of your eyelid.

 

Learn more about BLEPHEX for eyelid inflammation.

 

TearCare 

TearCare is a wearable eyelid technology device that administers gentle heat directly to the meibomian glands to liquefy the meibum, express clogged oil glands and stimulate tear production. The TearCare device allows your eyes to open and blink during the procedure, typically taking less than 3 minutes.

 

Learn more about TearCare for dry eyes.

 

Assil Gaur Eye Institute is your partner in treating and monitoring dry eye.

Sometimes, despite lifestyle modifications, people may notice that their eyes become drier over time, and techniques used to provide relief are no longer effective. That's why it's essential to have regular follow-up appointments with our dry eye specialists to monitor any changes in your symptoms and explore new treatment options that can address your situation.

 

There may be no single treatment to address your dry eye condition completely. Our dry eye care ophthalmologists and optometrists will work with you to find the underlying cause of your dry eye to provide the correct combination of therapies that best suit your symptoms.

 

Our ‌dry eye center is conveniently located for patients throughout Southern California and the Los Angeles area in or near Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Culver City, Hollywood, Venice, Marina del Rey, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, and Downtown Los Angeles.

 

 

 

Dry eyes FAQs

How is dry eye diagnosed?

Our ophthalmologist can perform several dry eye evaluations to diagnose dry eye and assess its effect on your eye health. They are Schirmer’s test, epithelial staining, and a detailed eye exam of the ocular surface and tear ducts.

Can dry eyes cause blurry vision?

Yes. When the eyes do not produce enough tears or the quality of tears is poor, the eye's surface can become dry and irritated, leading to a range of symptoms, including blurry vision. 

What does dry eye feel like? 

Dry eyes can cause a range of uncomfortable sensations. Some people with dry eyes may feel like they have sand or grit in their eyes. They may also experience stinging or burning sensations, itching, redness, and sensitivity to light. 

Can dry eyes cause headaches?

Dry eyes can sometimes cause headaches, although it is not a common symptom. When the eyes are dry, they may be unable to focus correctly, leading to eyestrain and fatigue. This can cause tension headaches.

Can dry eyes cause blindness? 

Dry eyes do not typically cause blindness, but they can lead to complications that can affect vision in severe cases. 

How long does dry eye last? 

Sometimes, dry eye may be temporary and resolved independently or with simple treatments such as artificial tears, taking breaks from digital screens, and avoiding dry or dusty environments.

 

In other cases, dry eye may be chronic and require ongoing treatment and management to relieve symptoms and prevent complications. Aging, hormonal changes, medication side effects, and certain medical conditions may cause chronic dry eye.

Can allergies cause dry eyes?

Allergies and dry eyes can go hand in hand. When the eyes are exposed to allergens, they can become red, itchy, and inflamed, and the tear film can become disrupted, leading to dryness and other symptoms similar to dry eyes. To determine the best treatment for your symptoms, an evaluation by an eye doctor is recommended.

Can dry eyes cause floaters?

Dry eyes typically do not cause floaters. Floaters are generally caused by changes in the vitreous, the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the center of the eye.

Can dehydration cause dry eyes?

Yes, dehydration can be a common cause of dry eyes. The body’s dehydration may not produce enough tears to keep the eyes moist and comfortable. This can lead to dry eye symptoms, such as redness, irritation, and blurred vision.

Can dry eye disease cause double vision? 

Yes, dry eye disease can cause double vision. When the eyes are dry, the eye’s surface may become irregular or rough, which can cause light to scatter and create visual disturbances. This can include seeing double or experiencing blurred vision.

Can dry eyes cause vitreous detachment?

There is currently no evidence to suggest that dry eyes can cause vitreous detachment, which is a condition that occurs when the gel-like substance inside the eye (known as the vitreous) separates from the retina

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