causes & Symptoms

Dry eye can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from seasonal causes to side effects from certain medications and treatments. Over the counter antihistamines, for example, can cause dry eye as a side effect of their use.

Allergies, including seasonal allergies, can also exacerbate dry eye. We will identify the cause of your symptoms as part of our ongoing treatment and management.

Each person experiences dry eye differently. You may experience some or all of the symptoms below:

  • Itchy, scratchy eyes

  • Eyes that burn when closed

  • Inability to cry (even when under duress or upset)

  • Ironically, excessive (but poor quality) tear production

  • Eye fatigue

  • Eye discharge that is goopy and stringy (not dissimilar to mucous)

  • Conjunctivitis

diagnosis & treatment

Diagnosis – Dry eye is diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam. Depending on the results of our diagnosis, we may also measure your tear production (including total volume) and lubricating qualities.

Treatment – Thankfully, there are a myriad of treatments available for dry eye. Due to its prevalence, it is a relatively well understood condition that benefits from considerable research and development. The most common treatments include:

  • Artificial tears – Available over the counter and in prescription strength, artificial tears (in the form of eye drops) are typically the first form of treatment recommended. Treatment via artificial tears is affordable and typically quite effective.

  • Punctal plugs – Punctal plugs are used to physically block the eye’s drainage ducts. By doing so, tears are forced to remain on your eye longer (and thus offer a more significant lubricating benefit).

  • Restasis – This effective treatment prompts your body to increase its own tear production. Restasis has proven itself to be an effective long-term treatment for many people, though it can take as long as 90 days of use before its benefits begin to become apparent.

  • Steroid eye drops – While effective at reducing eye inflammation (and thus improving comfort), steroidal eye drops are only suitable for short-term use due to their potential to cause serious side effects (including cataracts)

  • Expressing your meibomian glands – This procedure is uncomfortable but effective in improving eye lubrication. It’s long-term benefit far outweighs its short-term discomfort.