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Today it is estimated that millions of people throughout the United States suffer from dry eye disease. In fact it is considered to be one of the most common eye disorders worldwide.

Our tears play an important role in the functioning of our eyes. Each time we blink our tears provide the lubrication needed to wash out irritants, prevent infection and clear our vision. When the tears in our eyes fail to keep the eye lubricated we are left with a condition called dry eye.  Accurately diagnosing the cause of your dry eye allows us to design the most effective treatment plan. We take an integrated approach in treating dry eye offering our patients the most advanced treatments available. Your personal treatment plan may include one or a combination of treatments to alleviate symptoms and provide the best results.

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye
Persistent redness, scratchiness and a burning sensation are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome. Some people with dry eyes also experience a “foreign body sensation”, or the feeling that something is in the eye. And it may seem odd, but dry eye syndrome can cause watery eyes, because the excessive dryness causes an over-production of the watery component of your eye’s tears.

What Causes Dry Eyes?
In dry eye syndrome, we are either lacking in volume of tears, or the tears we have are a poor quality which causes them to evaporate too quickly. Dry eye syndrome has several causes. It occurs:

  • As a part of the natural aging process, especially among women over age 40.

  • As a side effect of many medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson’s medications and birth control pills. 

  • Because you live in a dry, dusty or windy climate with low humidity.

  • Air conditioning or a dry heating system 

  • Insufficient blinking, such as when you’re staring at a computer screen all day.

  • Certain systemic diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea or Sjogren’s Syndrome (a triad of dry eyes, dry mouth, and rheumatoid arthritis or lupus).

  • Long-term contact lens wear

  • Post eye surgery

  • Incomplete closure of the eyelids

  • Eyelid disease

  • Smoking


Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is an ongoing condition that treatments may be unable to cure. But the symptoms of dry eye, such as redness and burning, can usually be successfully managed.


Artificial Tears and Eye Drops

These are lubricating eye drops that may alleviate the dry, scratchy feeling and foreign body sensation of dry eye. Ask before buying any over-the-counter eye drops. Dr Bestwina will know which formulas are effective and long-lasting and which are not, as well as which eye drops will work with your contact lenses.
Prescription eye drops for dry eye go one step further: they help increase your tear production. In some cases, we may also prescribe a steroid for more immediate short-term relief.
If you wear contact lenses, be aware that some drops cannot be used during contact lens wear. You may need to remove your lenses before using the drops. For mild dry eye, contact lens rewetting drops may be sufficient to make your eyes feel better, but the effect is usually only temporary. Switching to another lens brand or cleaning solution could also help.


To reduce the effects of sun, wind and dust on dry eyes, wear sunglasses when outdoors. Wraparound styles offer the best protection.


Air Purifiers
Indoors, an air purifier can filter out dust and other particles from the air, while a humidifier adds moisture to air that’s too dry because of air conditioning or heating.


Punctal Plugs
For more significant cases of dry eye, we may recommend punctal plugs. These tiny devices are inserted in ducts in your lids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes.


Doctors sometimes also recommend special nutritional supplements containing certain essential fatty acids to decrease dry eye symptoms. Drinking more water may also offer some relief.


Underlying Diseases
Treating any underlying eyelid disease, such as blepharitis, helps as well. This may call for antibiotic or steroid drops, plus hot compresses & eyelid scrubs.

If you are considering LASIK, be aware that dry eyes may disqualify you for the surgery, at least until your dry eye condition is successfully treated. Dry eyes increase your risk for poor healing after LASIK, so most surgeons will want to treat the dry eyes first, to ensure a good LASIK outcome. This goes for other types of vision correction surgery as well.

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