dry eye treatment
Dry Eye Syndrome is an epidemic here in Utah. The arid climate and pollution levels that exist here along the Wasatch make it difficult for the eye to lubricate itself sufficiently. Symptoms of dry eye syndrome include eyes that burn, sting, and water.
Interestingly, an eye that waters profusely is usually an eye that suffers from insufficient lubrication.
Our eyes produce three types of tears. There are two oily layers, and a watery layer. The oily layers are produced by glands in the eyelids. The watery tears are produced by the lacrimal gland that is positioned under our upper eyebrow. The oil glands in the eyelids are affected by age, climate, medications, and some inflammatory disorders. When the oil glands do not produce enough oils, our tears become thin, evaporate quickly, and don't lubricate the eye well. When this occurs, dry spots will form on the surface of the eye. These dry spots are uncomfortable, and cause burning, stinging, and a sandy or gritty feeling. When the eye suffers these symptoms, it will spontaneously produce more watery tears in an effort to wash away or cover up the irritant. Unfortunately, these watery tears further dilute the oils in the tears, resulting in thinner tears that further intensify the dry eye symptoms.
There are many treatments for dry eye syndrome. Lubricant eye drops are the first treatment that can alleviate these symptoms. There are many brands and types of lubricant eye drops, and some are better than others. Supplements which contain Omega-3 fatty acids can help the glands in the eyelids function more effectively. Another treatment is to occlude or plug the tear ducts (drains) in the eyelids to increase the level of tears on the eyes. Finally there are prescription eye drops, and pills that can offer significant relief to patients with dry eyes.
Dr. Wilkes evaluates each dry eye patient thoroughly to determine which treatment will most effectively alleviate the patients symptoms.