Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome can be caused by a variety of factors including:
Increased age – Tear production tends to diminish as you get older. Dry eyes are common in people over age 50.
Gender – Dry eye syndrome is more common in women, especially if they experience hormonal changes due to pregnancy, using birth control pills or menopause.
Wearing Contact Lenses – Contact lenses thin the protective layer of tears that normally covers the surface of your eyes which makes tears evaporate more quickly and causes irritating dryness for many patients.
Environment – Atmospheric pollutants can contribute to the dissolution of the lipid (fat) layer of your tears, causing irritation and dryness.
Medications – Decongestant medications as well as drugs for depression, high blood pressure, prostate problems and glaucoma can also cause dryness.
If left untreated, dry eye syndrome can have serious implications. Possible results include:
- Eye infections. Your tears protect the surface of your eyes from infection. Without adequate tears, you may have an increased risk of eye infection.
- Damage to the surface of your eyes. If left untreated, severe dry eyes may lead to eye inflammation, abrasion of the corneal surface, corneal ulcer and vision problems.
- Decreased quality of life. Dry eyes can make it difficult to perform everyday activities such as reading and driving a car.
Treatment Options for Dry Eye Syndrome
For most patients, dry eye syndrome can be managed as an ongoing condition with over-the-counter eye drops. If your symptoms are more persistent you may find anti-inflammatory prescription medicine helpful. Some patients benefit from alternative treatment methods.
Of course, your treatment will depend on individual circumstances. However, the following methods for treating dry eye syndrome are common:
- Light therapy
- Eye drops
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- The use of artificial tears throughout the day
- Tear stimulating medication
- Punctal plugs
- Warm compresses
To learn more about dry eye syndrome or to discuss treatment options with Dr. Bowden, contact Bowden Eye & Associates at 904-296-0098 or bowdeneye.com.