About 10 million Americans suffer from chronic dry eye, or dry eye syndrome, described clinically as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS).
Dry eye occurs when the tears that lubricate the eye fail to produce sufficient moisture, resulting in stinging, burning, scratchiness and other symptoms.
Most of these cases result from normal aging of the glands in the eye, but dry eye can occur at any age. People suffering from allergies and those wearing contact lenses have a greater risk of developing dry eye. While environmental factors can aggravate chronic dry eye, they are not the cause.
Dry eye cannot be cured, but your eyes’ sensitivity can be lessened and measures can be taken so your eyes remain healthy and comfortable.
If left untreated, dry eye can make a difference in vision, can lead to an increased risk of cornea or eye surface damage and eye infection, and, in rare cases, may result in blindness.
The most frequent method of treatment is the use of artificial tears, tear substitutes or prescription eye drops called Restasis, which help increase your natural ability to produce tears.
It is important to know that over-the-counter tear replacement solutions are not a treatment for dry eye, and frequent use over long periods of time may cause toxic irritation or even allergic reactions.
The doctors at Seidenberg Protzko Eye Associates can determine if you have chronic dry eye and can prescribe the right treatment so your eyes can regain their normal comfort and effectiveness.
Dry Eye Syndrome (also known as Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or KCS) is a condition of the eye caused by a decrease in tear production, or an increase in evaporation of tears.
The most common cause of dry eye syndrome is aging. Tear production decreases as people age, and people with diabetes are more susceptible. Wearers of contact lenses and people who have had LASIK surgery are also at potential risk, though after a few months there are usually no continued problems.
Symptoms of dry eye syndrome are typically burning, dryness and increasing irritation throughout the day. The damage it causes to the eye can cause discomfort and higher sensitivity to bright lights. Occasionally, there is also a discharge from the eyes. The body’s natural reaction to the irritation is to create excessive tears, which do not have the ability to adequately lubricate the eye in this condition.
Tests can be performed to diagnose dry eye during a comprehensive eye exam. The tests determine the amount of moisture produced in normal circumstances and can help determine appropriate treatment. Treatments include measures to increase the retention of tears and to supplement them.