Dry Eyes are one of the most common problems reported to eye doctors. Dry Eyes result from either a decrease in the amount of tears produced by the lacrimal gland, decrease in the amount of oily secretions from the meibomian glands inside the eyelids, or a decrease in the muscin produced by the goblet cells in the conjunctiva.
Common causes of dry eye include advancing age, hormonal changes, menopause, allergies, poor diet, heating/cooling environmental conditions, contact lens wear, poor blinking (which is often induced with driving, reading and computer use), health status such as diabetes, arthritis, lupus, sjogrens syndrome, thyroid dysfunction, acne rosacea, chemotherapy, radiation, and in patients with a history of lasik surgery. Additionally, certain medications can cause dry eye such as antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, acne treatments, diuretics and some blood pressure medications.
Common symptoms of dry eye include fluctuating vision, dryness, burning, itching, gritty or foreign body sensation, stickiness, sensitivity to light, reflex tearing, and redness.
Treatment of dry eye will vary depending on the underlying cause. Therapy may include artificial tears, gels and/or lubricating ointments, prescription medication like Restasis and steroids, nutritional supplements such as Omega 3 essential fatty acid, hot compresses and massage of eyelids, oral antibiotics and punctal (tear drainage) occlusion.