Eye Health Issues: Dry Eyes

One of the most common eye health issues is dry eye. Dry eyes, an uncomfortable condition caused by the failure of the tear ducts to provide adequate moisture to the eyes, affects many people. Fortunately, there are solutions, and here, Dallas LASIK surgeon, Dr. Gary Tylock, offers suggestions for combating dry eyes and improving your eye health.

Tears provide constant moisture and lubrication, to promote eye health and comfort. A mixture of water, oil, mucus, antibodies, and special proteins, tears are secreted by special glands around the eye. An imbalance in this system can cause dry eyes, which can manifest itself as pain, sensitivity to light, a sensation of grit or sand in the eyes, itching, redness, and blurred vision. One confusing symptom of dry eye is excess tears, which seems contradictory, but is easily explained. When the eye is not getting enough lubrication, it sends a distress signal to the nervous system, and the response is a rush of tears. These “emergency” tears are mostly water, so while they will wash away debris, they are not good for coating the surface of the eye.

An imbalance in the eye is not the only thing that causes dry eyes. Conditions that can cause dry eyes include aging, illness, medications, and structural problems with the eyelids. Though dry eyes cannot be cured, a number of treatments can alleviate symptoms.

  • Artificial tears can come in drop or ointment formulation. They are available over the counter, and different drops work for different people, so you may have to experiment to find the one that is right for you. If you have chronic dry eye, you should use them even when you are not experiencing symptoms, to keep your eyes lubricated. An ointment can be used for those whose eyes dry out at night.
  • Punctal occlusion is a procedure that involves closing the tear ducts.
    • For temporary punctual occlusion, a plug is inserted into the lower lid tear drains. This plug can be removed, or may dissolve in a few days.
    • Permanent punctual occlusion uses longer lasting plugs. Contrary to what the name suggests, they can be removed, if desired.
    • Restasis is a recently approved prescription eye drop. Approved by the FDA for the treatment of chronic dry eye, Restasis is the only prescription eye drop that helps your eyes produce their own teardrops.
    • Other medications, like topical steroids, can sometimes be effective.
    • Surgery may be necessary to improve your eye health. Your doctor can permanently close the ducts that drain tears into the nose, in an outpatient surgery, with local anesthetic.

Whether your issue is dry eyes, poor vision, or another eye health issue, Tylock-George Eye Care and Laser Center can help. Under the supervision of pioneering Dallas LASIK surgeon, Dr Gary Tylock, the professional and friendly staff at Tylock provides excellent customer care, using the latest in technological advances. Visit the website to learn more, or connect with the online community on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.