Menomonee Falls
N89 W16785 Appleton Ave.
Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
Phone: (262) 253-4000
Get Directions

Dry Eye

Dry eye is a condition characterized by the underproduction of tears or the appropriate quality of tears to keep the eyes healthy and comfortable.

What Are Symptoms of Dry Eye?

  • Stinging or burning eyes
  • Scratchiness/ foreign body sensation
  • Stringy mucus in or around the eyes
  • Excessive eye irritation from smoke or wind
  • Excess tearing
  • Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
  • Blurred vision

What Causes Dry Eye?

Tear production decreases with age for both men and women. Women, however, experience dry eye more frequently, especially during and after the onset of menopause. Prolonged wear and use of contact lenses is also associated with dry eye. Dry eye can also be cause by the autoimmune disorder known as Sjogren’s syndrome.
Certain over-the-counter and prescription medicines can cause a reduction in tear secretion and may cause or exacerbate a dry eye problem. The following medications may affect tear secretion in the eyes:

  • Diuretics
  • Beta-Blockers
  • Antihistamines
  • Sleeping Pills
  • Psychiatric medications
  • Pain Relievers

In addition, dry eye sufferers are more likely to experience side-effects from eye drops, such as preserved eye medications, which can further irritate the eye.

How Dry Eye is Diagnosed?

An ophthalmologist can diagnose dry eye by performing tests to measure tear production:

  • Schirmer Tear Test
  • Involves placing filter-paper strips under the lower eyelids to measure the rate of tear production under various conditions
  • Fluorescein or Rose Bengal Test:
  • A diagnostic staining drop is used to look for certain patterns of dryness on the surface of the eyes

How Dry Eye is Treated?

Adding Tears: Using eyedrops called artificial tears helps to lubricate the eyes and maintain moisture. Preservative-free eyedrops are also available to those who have sensitivities to these components in some brands of artificial tears.

Ointments and gels are sometimes recommended because they are thicker than artificial tears and retain moisture more effectively. Gels and ointments are most commonly used at bedtime as they may temporarily blur your vision.

Conserving your Tears: Your ophthalmologist may choose to conserve your tears in conjunction with adding artificial tears. To conserve your tears the doctor will close the lacrimal ducts, which are small channels that drain eye secretions into to the nose. Your doctor may close these channels temporarily with punctual plugs or permanently with an outpatient surgical procedure. Treatment options depend on the severity of the dry eye condition.

Controlling Conditions: Dry eye sufferers should avoid any conditions that may increase dryness, such as excessive heat, hair dryers, wind, air conditioning and smoking.

Restasis: In 2002, the FDA approved the prescription eye drop Restasis for the treatment of chronic dry eye. Restasis helps to increase your eye’s natural ability to produce tears by reducing inflammation caused by chronic dry eye. Restasis is topically applied to the eyes twice daily and may cause a mild stinging sensation. Patients often do not notice improved tear production until 1-2 months after beginning treatment with Restasis. For this reason, do not discontinue use if you do not experience immediate relief.

Improving the Quality of Tears: Your doctor may recommend adding dietary supplements such as Omega-3 Fish Oil. Infusing your diet with good fatty acids, such as those found in fish, may help to increase the quality of tears produced by the eyes and provide some dry eye relief.

Untitled document