LASER VISION CORRECTION | OPTICAL DEPARTMENT ....... Charlotte (704) 364-7400 ........Huntersville (704) 895-8200

DRY EYES

A sandy, burning sensation in your eyes, vision which blurs intermittently especially with reading or watching TV, light sensitivity and redness are common symptoms of Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, or dry eyes.

With dry eyes, you may have excessive tearing, where tears actually well up and run down your face. How can my eyes be dry when I have tears running down my face? Reflex tearing, which occurs when your tear glands are not producing sufficient quality and quantity of tears, is because your eyes have become chronically sensitive. Wind, changes in temperature, humidity or light will cause the tear gland to suddenly produce a lot of tears. Your lids and tear ducts, which act like gutters on a house, cannot drain these adequately. The tears overflow and run down your cheeks.

Dry eyes may occur with aging as the tear glands do not produce as many tears as you get older. Or, dryness may be a side effect of medications, like antihistamines or blood pressure medications like diuretics. Hormonal changes that occur as we get older can affect the moisture levels in the entire body, including your eyes. Inflammation of the oil glands, or meibomitis, occurs when the oil glands, called meibomian glands, become inflamed and can no longer produce oils to stabilize the tear film. This can occur in association with a common skin condition called Acne Rosacea. Eyelid anatomy changes from injury, tumors or age can expose the eyes and cause the moisture to evaporate too quickly. Finally, autoimmune conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis can alter your tear glands’ ability to produce tears adequately. Frequently, it is a combination of these causes that work together to create enough symptoms for you to call for an appointment.

Dry eye is very treatable and rarely sight threatening. Depending on the cause, our doctors at Charlotte Ophthalmology Clinic, may recommend anything from over-the-counter eye drops, to prescription medications like Restasis® or ocular steroids, to minor procedures performed in our office on your tear ducts or eyelids. A thorough eye exam which may involve some special testing will reveal the causes and a followup visit or two will be helpful to see if you are responding to treatment. Please call our office for an appointment if your symptoms are bothersome.

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