As one of the most common ocular symptoms, dry eyes are treated on a daily basis in our office. Dr. Kresie and Penzler offer a variety of treatments for dry eye symptoms and will be happy to discuss the options with you.

What is dry eye?
Dry eye is a reduction in your eyes’ ability to produce sufficient natural tears. Insufficient tear production can lead to redness, pain, and even scarring of the cornea (the transparent part of the eye that covers the pupil and iris). Many people will experience dry eye at some point in their lives. Often due to environmental factors such as indoor heating or air conditioning, it can also be caused by occupational factors such as prolonged computer use.

Dry eye can affect anyone. However, most susceptible are postmenopausal women and people with arthritis. Some of the symptoms of dry eye include a burning sensation or gritty filling in the eyes. You may also experience decreased tolerance to contact lens wear or sensitivity to light.

What causes dry eye?
As we age, our bodies experience a reduction in natural tear production. Also, certain diseases and medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome, arthritis, and pregnancy; environmental factors; and some medications are known to cause dry eye.

Here are some things to keep in mind as well as precautions you can take to help prevent or minimize the symptoms of dry eye:
• Avoid drafts from heating and air conditioning vents, especially in cars and airplanes.
• Take frequent breaks to relieve eye strain during periods of prolonged computer use.
• Remove your contact lenses and keep them especially clean when you eyes are feeling dry.
• After LASIK surgery, use artificial tears to soothe and comfort your eyes during recovery.
• Be aware that certain over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs can contribute to dry eye.
• Know that natural changes in tear production and composition often occur due to age or disease.

How is dry eye diagnosed?
Your eye doctor can check your eyes for the signs and symptoms of dry eye. He or she will likely use one of several quick and painless tests to measure your tear productions and determine the severity of your condition.

What can I do about dry eye?
If you suspect you have dry eye, see your doctor. He or she can determine which treatment is appropriate for you. Depending on the severity of your condition, tear replacement is the most commonly recommended therapy. This involves the use of lubricant eye drops or, for more severe dry eye and overnight relief, gels or ointments may be used.