Dry Eye Center of Excellence

Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is a common ocular complaint which falls under two categories: aqueous deficient, where patients do not produce an adequate amount of tears, and evaporative, where the tears that are produced are of poor quality. Symptoms of Dry Eye may include, but are not limited to, irritated, gritty, or burning eyes, a feeling of something in the eyes, excess watering, and blurred vision.

Risk factors for Dry Eye Syndrome include:

  • Age: Dry eye is part of the aging process. The majority of people over the age of 65 will experience some form of dry eye syndrome.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop DES due to the hormone changes associated with pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and menopause.
  • Medications: Dry eye syndrome is a side-effect of some medications.
  • Environmental Conditions: Tear evaporation may happen more rapidly with smoke, wind, and dry climates. Failure to blink for extended periods of time, such as during prolonged computer use, can also contribute to DES.
  • Medical Conditions: Individuals suffering from systemic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, rosacea, and thyroid problems are more likely to develop dry eye symptoms.

Dry Eye Syndrome can be diagnosed through an annual comprehensive eye exam. The treatment options vary with the severity of the symptoms. Treatment will often include adding tears, increasing tear production, conserving tears, or the treatment of ocular surface or eyelid inflammation.

Common Treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome include:

  • Drops: Mild cases of Dry Eye Syndrome can be managed with over-the-counter artificial tear solutions, which supplement natural tear production. For more severe cases of DES, prescription strength drops may be required to increase tear production.
  • Punctal Plugs: Excess tears drain through small ducts in the corners of the eyelids. Semi-permanent and dissolving punctal plugs can be inserted to block these ducts and prevent the loss of tears.
  • Nutrition: A high-quality omega-3 essential fatty acid can help relieve symptoms associated with DES. We recommend Pure Encapsulations brand fish oil. Patients are also encouraged to drink ample water and limit caffeine consumption.
  • Amniotic Membrane Allograft: The Amniotic membrane is the part of the human placental tissue closest to the fetus during development. This tissue has been found to help damaged or inflamed ocular surfaces heal faster and can help treat eye diseases including Dry Eye Syndrome.