Dry eyes are caused by a lack of tears. Tears are necessary for the normal lubrication of your eyes and to wash away particles and foreign bodies. Common causes of dry eyes include:
- Dry environment or workplace (wind, air conditioning)
- Sun exposure
- Smoking or second-hand smoke exposure
- Cold or allergy medicines
- An eye injury or other problem with your eyes or eyelids (like a drooping eyelid or bulging eyes)
- Sjogrens syndrome — includes dry eyes, mouth, and mucus membranes, and often rheumatoid arthritis or other joint disorder
The following steps may help:
- Try artificial tears, available as either drops or ointment. Ointments last longer, but are thicker and can cause blurry vision.
- Don’t smoke. Avoid second-hand smoke, direct wind, and air conditioning.
- Use a humidifier, especially in the winter.
- Purposefully blink more often. Rest your eyes.
When we evaluate a dry eye patient in our office we begin with the most conservative treatments which include artificial tears. We always explore nutritional options such as Omega three fatty acid supplementation and lifestyle changes. However, if conservative treatment fail we explore the use of pharmaceutical agents such as, Restasis or other anti-inflammatory medications. The use of punctal plugs, which are tear duct plugs are also an option.