Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common problems treated by eye physicians. Over ten million Americans suffer from dry eyes. It is usually caused by a problem with the quality of the tear film that lubricates the eyes.
Dry eye syndrome has many causes. One of the most common reasons for dryness is simply the normal aging process. As we grow older, our bodies produce less oil and tears. This is more pronounced in women. Without as much oil to seal the watery layer, the tear film evaporates much faster. Many other factors, such as hot, dry or windy climates, high altitudes, air-conditioning and cigarette smoke also cause dry eyes. Many people also find their eyes become irritated when reading or working on a computer.
Stopping periodically to rest and blink keeps the eyes more comfortable. Contact lens wearers may also suffer from dryness because the contacts absorb the tear film, causing proteins to form on the surface of the lens. Certain medications, thyroid conditions, vitamin A deficiency, and diseases such as Parkinson’s and Sjogren’s can also cause dryness. Women frequently experience problems with dry eyes as they enter menopause because of hormonal changes. The symptoms of dry eyes include:
Blurred vision that improves with blinking
Increased discomfort after periods of reading, watching TV, or working on a computer
When it comes to treating dry eyes, everyone’s needs are a little different. Many find relief simply from using artificial tears on a regular basis. Some of these products are watery and alleviate the symptoms temporarily; others are thicker and adhere to the eye longer. Preservative-free tears are recommended because they have fewer additives that could potentially cause irritation. Avoid products that whiten the eyes – they don’t have adequate lubricating qualities and often make the problem worse.
There has been several exciting advances made in the treatment of dry eyes in the last year. Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons offers a wide array of options, including new formulations of artificial tears, innovative thermosensitive punctal plugs and the recently approved Restasis prescription eye drops.
Endura Artificial Tears
Refresh Endura is the first and only eye drop to benefit all 3 layers of the tear film. This helps seal in moisture and helps prevents evaporation of existing tears for sustained comfort. These drops are an excellent option for moderate dry eyes that have not responded to normal artificial tear therapy.
Until recently, there was no other medical treatment for dry eyes aside from artificial tears. Restasis is the first prescription medication approved to increase tear production in patients with dry eyes and Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons was chosen as one of the first sites in the country for its introduction. Restasis acts by reducing ocular inflammation, which has been shown to be an important factor leading to decreased tear production.
For more severe dry eyes, closing the opening of the tear drain in the eyelid with special inserts called punctal plugs is another option. This works like closing a sink drain with a stopper. These special plugs hold the tears on the eye, keeping it moist. This may be done on a temporary basis with a dissolvable collagen plug, or more permanently with a silicone plug. Insertion of the plug is quick, painless and they are quite comfortable. A plug can be removed at any time.
The SmartPLUG is a brand new type of punctal plug offered at Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons. It is made of an innovative heat sensitive material that adjusts to the exact shape and size of your punctum. The SmartPLUG is placed in the punctum by your doctor and automatically shrinks in length and expands in width to fit the punctum. Once in place, the SmartPLUG becomes a virtually undetectable soft gel.
Punctal cautery is permanent closure of the puncta using heat. This is a treatment reserved for the most severe forms of dry eye, in which medical treatment and punctal plugs are inadequate.
4277 Allen Rd
Stow, Ohio 44224 Call Us: (330) 928-0201 Toll Free: (800) 548-1729 Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri 8:00am to 5:00pm; Saturday 8:30 to Noon with evening and early morning appointments available upon request.
2013 State Rt. 59
Kent, Ohio 44240 Call Us: (330) 678-0201 Toll Free: (800) 548-1729 Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri 8:00am to 5:00pm with early morning and evening appointments available upon request.