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DRY EYE SYNDROME (KERATOCONJUNCTIVITIS SICCA)

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome, also known as Keratoconojunctivitis Sicca, is a common disorder of the tear film. Dry eye is a condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. People with dry eyes do not produce enough tears or have poor quality tears. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision.

Chronic dry eye syndrome is a medical condition that requires continuous treatment. Dry eye syndrome occurs in a wide range of individuals, affecting a significant percentage of the population. Dry eye syndrome is seen frequently in women, people over 40 years of age, and those with connective tissue disorders (rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's syndrome, etc.)
 

What causes Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry Eye Syndrome can have many causesDry Eye Syndrome (Chronic Dry Eye)

  • age
  • gender
  • long term use of contact lenses
  • medications (antihistamines, antidepressants, beta-blockers, oral contraceptives)
  • medical conditions
  • auto-immune diseases
  • environmental conditions
  • decreased blinking
  • conditions such as a stroke or Bell's Palsy, which can make it difficult to close the eyes 

Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome:

  • blurred vision
  • irritated eyes
  • gritty, scratchy sensation
  • burning eyes
  • itching eyes
  • sensation of something in the eyes
  • excess watering
  • light sensitivity
  • redness of the eyes

Symptoms seem to worsen with prolonged computer use or reading, toward the end of the day, in dry climates, windy conditions, higher temperatures, lower humidity,
 

Treatment of Dry Eye Syndrome:

Dry eyes can be a chronic condition and requires medical treatment from your eye doctor. Treatment can include:

  • adding preservative-free artificial tears (however, people with persistent dry eyes do not typically respond to artificial tears alone)
  • conserving tears (punctal plugs, a painless procedure, are used to block the tear ducts)
  • increasing tear production (through the use of nutritional supplements – consult your eye doctor to insure best results)
  • treatment of eyelid or eye surface inflammation