Dry Eye Syndrome
Red, gritty and scratchy eyes can have a number of causes and possible treatments. In addition to discomfort and fluctuating vision, dry eyes can lead to styes and infection. Regular eye examinations can prevent complications and provide the opportunity for you to get help with treatment.
If you have dry eyes, you may notice that the discomfort worsens as the day progresses. Air conditioning, smoke, drafts, and cold temperatures become difficult to tolerate. It may feel like there’s a foreign body in your eye, or your eyes may have a sandy feeling. In spite of the fact that you are suffering from “dry” eyes, you may find that your eyes are watering reflexively and that strands of mucous are accumulating.
What’s Going On? Normal tear film consists of three layers: mucin, aqueous, and lipid. Abnormalities in production, content, or distribution of these three layers or in eyelid function will cause the various conditions commonly known as dry eye.
Also, dry eye can be aggravated by inflammation of the eyelid margin. In this case, the lid, where the eyelashes attach, will be red and irregular.
No one treatment for dry eye has proven completely successful. A combination of the following may improve comfort: good eyelid hygiene, the use of artificial tears and lubricating ointments, newer agents designed to heal tissue such as Cyclosporine, supplements and punctal occlusion (the insertion of a silicone plug into the tiny opening that drains the tears). Examining controllable factors such as medications, topical creams and lotions, and environment enhances treatment success.
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