SEECA - Specialty Eye Care - Houma, LA
 
 
 

Dry Eye Syndrome

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

If you have any of the following symptoms, you may suffer from dry eye syndrome.

  • Fluctuating vision that seems to get better or worse without warning
  • Occasional blurriness of vision, especially when reading or concentrating
  • Watery eyes (yes, dry eyes can cause irritation which then produces watering.)
  • Contact lenses discomfort
  • Feeling of tiredness in and around the eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Sandy or gritty feeling in the eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • Pain or soreness around eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Arthritis or other auto immune condition

What environmental conditions can cause dry eye to be worse?

  • Air conditioning vents in the car, especially on long trips
  • Wind, dust smoke
  • Computer monitors, especially if concentrating
  • Reading of any kind, including newspaper, books, etc.

What is dry eye syndrome?

Tears function to keep the eyes lubricated and comfortable. These tears are required to keep the eye healthy and seeing clearly. Without the normal amount of tears, our eyes can become irritated and our vision can become blurred.

Why do my eyes sometimes cry (water) if I have dry eyes?

It seems STRANGE that a person with dry eye syndrome could have watery eyes! Once you understand how the tears work, however, it will make perfect sense.

The eyes have two types of tear production, normal BASELINE tear production and REFLEX tear production (tears that are used in case of injury or irritation to quickly wash out the eye).

BASELINE tears are produced continuously. BASELINE tears keep the normal eye constantly and consistently moist.

REFLEX tears are produced in response to sudden irritation (smoke, onions, dust, wind or DRYNESS) These REFLEX tears do not lubricate the eye properly. This is why people with dry eye syndrome will sometimes have a watery eye. The graph below may help to better explain the situation.

How do we test for dry eye syndrome?

We listen to the patients complaints, clinical exam and we use statistical information to determine risk for dry eye syndrome.

What Treatments can help improve your eyes?

  • Artificial tears work for mild dry eye conditions. Artificial tears only stay in the eye for 2-5 minutes before draining out through the tear drain.
  • Punctal Plugs have been shown to offer significant improvement to patients who have symptoms of dry eye syndrome or have been found by Schirmer’s test to have low tear production.

Punctal Plugs Described

  • Restore balance to the dry eye by decreasing drainage of tears out of the eye.
  • Painless procedure
  • No down time and no driver needed
  • No cutting, no shot, and  no stitches
  • Completely reversible at any time
  • Covered by insurance (except for co-pay and deductible)
  • Minimal risk since plugs can be removed.

Will Punctal Plugs Ever Pop Out?

5-10% of the patients will have their plugs pop out. It is impossible to know which patients will have this problem before we put the plugs in. We will make every attempt to make sure that the plugs stay in place, however, THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES.

Reasons that the plugs may pop out include:

  • Poor anatomy of the puncta.
  • Patients who rub their eyes accidentally.
  • A reaction to the plug which pushes the plug out.

What can be done if my plugs Pop Out?

If your plugs pop out we can do one of the following things:

  • Put new Larger sized plugs in place
  • Perform a surgical procedure to close the puncta.
  • Monitor the dry eye syndrome and not replace the plugs.

What are the limitations of the plugs?

The plugs are NOT A MIRACLE CURE for dry eye syndrome. They are limited by the amount of tears that the person produces to start with. If a person has severe dry eye syndrome they may benefit from  having both the upper and the lower puncta closed. Even with all plugs closed, their may still be some dryness. Know that the plugs are the BEST TREATMENT OPTION AVAILABLE ANYWHERE.

Trial of Artificial tears:

To see if you have dry eye syndrome, take this test. When you have the symptoms of dry eye syndrome mentioned above, use artificial tears. If the symptoms improve, then chances are you have dry eye syndrome.

Prescribed Medication:

Restasis (Cyclosporine Ophthalmic Emulsion) 0.05% is the only prescription eye drop to increase tear production. If you have chronic dry eye and use artificial tears several times a day you may benefit from using Restasis. Restasis is used twice a day.