Dry Eye Center of Excellence
Causes of Dry Eye
- Aging: As we age, tear production decreases. Men and women of any age can be affected. However, after menopause and during pregnancy, women are especially susceptible.
- Contact Lenses: Wearing contact lenses often increases tear evaporation. This can result in irritation, increased protein deposits, infection, and pain. Dry eye has been shown to be the leading cause of contact lens discomfort.
- Medications: A variety of common medications reduce tear secretion. These include decongestants, antihistamines, diuretics, beta-blockers, sleeping pills, antidepressants, pain relievers, and alcohol.
- Environment: Occasional or continual exposure to various environments can reduce eye lubrication. These include sunny, dry or windy conditions; areas with heaters, dehumidifiers, fans or air conditioners; work settings (i.e.; areas with chemicals or hair dryers), high altitudes, smoke or air pollution and sand, dust or airborne pollen.
- Auto Immune Disease: Diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Rosacea, Lupus and Sjogren’s syndrome can cause Dry Eye.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
If you experience any of the symptoms below, you may have Dry Eye!
- Dry Sensation
- Scratchy, Gritty Feeling
- Excess Tearing (watery eyes)
- Mucous Discharge
- Irritation from Wind or Smoke
- Tired Eyes
- Light Sensitivity
- Contact Lens Discomfort
- Contact Lens Solution Sensitivity
- Lid Infections / Sties
- Sensitivity to Artificial Tears
- Eyelids Stuck Together at Awakening
Treatment of Dry Eye
At ECS Pediatric & Adult, we provide various treatment options, including
- Artificial tears
- Warm compresses
- Ocular Supplements
- Prescription Medications
- Punctal Plugs
What are Punctal Plugs?
Punctal plugs are tiny, biocompatible devices that can be inserted into tear ducts to block drainage. This increases the eye’s tear film and surface moisture to help relieve certain forms of dry eye. Also known as punctum plugs, lacrimal plugs or occluders, these devices often are no larger than a grain of rice.
Punctal plugs usually are considered when non-prescription or prescription eye drops fail to relieve your dry eye condition.
Two general types of tear duct plugs are:
- Semi-permanent, typically made of long-lasting materials such as silicone.
- Dissolvable, made of materials such as collagen that the body eventually absorbs.
Temporary or dissolvable punctal plugs usually last from a few days to as long as several months. These types of plugs would be used in circumstances such as preventing dry eyes after LASIK, if you choose to have refractive surgery.
Dis-solvable, temporary punctal plugs sometimes are used to determine if the treatment works for your dry eye condition. If so, then semi-permanent punctal plugs might be considered.