Overview of Dry Eye

Call to schedule a dry eye workup with one of our doctors

Can Dryness Damage Your Eyes?
Yes. When left untreated, severely dry eyes may lead to chronic infection of your eye and eyelids, corneal ulceration, scarring, permanent vision loss, or even loss of your eyes.



Dry Eye Risk Factors

Dry eye disease (DED) is one of the most commonly occurring ocular conditions. Dry eye disease is estimated to affect 5% to 35% of the population; a higher incidence with age, more common among certain populations, and is influenced by environmental factors.

Sunny, dry, or windy weather, heaters, air conditioners and high altitudes increase the evaporation of tears from the surface of your eyes. You may experience dry eye symptoms while viewing television, computer screens, or while reading.

Tear Drainage
If you have too much tear drainage, or too little tear production, you may experience dry eye symptoms or related symptoms in the nose, throat and sinuses.

Poor Quality of Tears
Tears are made up of three layers: oil, water and mucus. Each component serves a function in protecting and nourishing the front surface of the eye. A smooth oil layer helps to prevent evaporation of the water layer, while the mucin layer functions in spreading the tears evenly over the surface of the eye. If the tears evaporate too quickly or do not spread evenly over the cornea due to deficiencies with any of the three tear layers, dry eye symptoms can develop.

Contact Lens Wear
Wearing contact lenses increases tear evaporation and related dry eye symptoms. Dryness may result in protein deposits on the contact lenses, eye irritation, pain, infection, or sensitivity to contact lens solutions. Dry eye symptoms are the number one reason people stop wearing contact lenses.

Tear production gradually decreases with age. At age 65 the tear glands produce about 40% of the lubricating tears they produced at age 18. Decreased tear production may cause eye irritation and excess tearing or watery eyes.

Tear production may be reduced if you take certain medications including: decongestants, antihistamines, betablockers, sleeping pills, anxiety medications, pain relievers, and diuretics. If you are taking any medication, ask the eye doctor if it contributes to your dry eye symptoms.

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction; The Leading Cause of Dry Eye

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is the leading cause of dry eye.  Because meibomian gland dysfunction is caused by improper production of the oil component of the tear film, rather than a lack of tear production, the treatment of MGD is different than that for dry eye due to a lack of tear production.  For this reason, proper diagnosis of the specific cause of your dry eye is necessary for the proper management of the condition.  If you have tried artificial tears in the past but only noticed momentary improvements in symptoms, then it is likely that your dry eye is not being properly managed. Schedule an appointment at Artisan Optics for a complete dry eye evaluation.  Following the evaluation, our doctors will be able to diagnose your specific type of dry eye and recommend the right treatment plan for you.


Dry Eye Treatment; Available at Artisan Optics

Punctal Plugs (Lacrimal Plugs) for Dry Eyes

Your eyes are primarily lubricated by tears produced by tear glands located in your upper eyelids. Natural tears make your eyes feel cool, comfortable, refreshed, and help prevent infection of your eye and eyelids. Blinking spreads a film of tears across the surface of your eyes. The tears move to the inside region of the eye and through the tear drainage ducts into the nose and throat. If there are not enough lubricating tears on the surface of your eyes, you experience dry eye symptoms such as: Dry, red, itchy, burning or watery eyes, irritation and pain. Tear related problems are the most common medical reason people visit the eye doctor.

  • Eye drops are expensive and only help temporarily. Lubricating eye drops may temporarily relieve dry eye symptoms. Five minutes after placement, 80% of eye drops drain away from your eyes down into the nose and throat.
  • Tears are made up of three layers: oil, water, and mucus. The majority of over-the-counter (OTC) drops are not designed to treat deficiences in all three layers.
  • Before using eye drops the doctor must determine which tear film layer is deficient, and then prescribe the appropriate treatment.
  • Eye drops dilute natural tears, can cause eye irritation, and may make dry eye symptoms worse!

Dry Eye Treatment