Dry Eyes

Overview

Dry eyes syndrome, or chronic dry eye, occurs when the eyes do not receive adequate natural moisture. This could be due to many reasons, but basically the body is not creating enough tears, or the tears are poor quality.

This condition occurs more frequently with aging. Since the condition is more common in females and in the aging population, the underlying mechanism may be a lack of estrogen. Other contributing factors are increased oxidative stress from free radical damage, excessive tobacco use, and toxic overload to the body.

Unilateral dry eye may result from a post-stroke situation where the nerves supplying the lacrimal gland are damaged. Generalized conditions such as Sjögren's Syndrome or mixed connective tissue disorder may, as part of the disease spectrum, have dry eyes. Management of this condition is to initially exclude an identifiable underlying cause.

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Symptoms

  • Pain in the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Itchy eyes
  • Redness in the eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Gritty sensation in eyes

*This is not a complete list, and if you are experiencing these symptoms it is not guaranteed you have dry eyes.

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Management Plan

Specific management to the eye involves supplemental intake of omega-3 and omega. Also of use are omega-6 fatty acids as found in evening primrose oil, or gamma-linolenic acid, adequate levels of vitamin A, as well as vitamin A-infused eye drops. Only eye lubricants that are preservative-free should be used. Also necessary is the avoidance of secondhand smoke. General measures also make a big impact such as adequate hydration, limited use of computers, a regular exercise program, both general and ocular-specific antioxidants and selenium. Recent research indicates that in some cases of dry eye, a low-grade chronic inflammation exists. For this, reason supplemental anti-inflammatories such as curcumin and quercetin may be helpful. In severely resistant cases, moisture-chamber goggles may provide temporary relief.

The doctor is dedicated to not just managing the symptoms but finding the underlying cause and fixing it so that this condition does not continue to happen. Finding the root of the problem could also uncover a more serious condition that is causing the eyes to be dry.

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Learn more about how the Houston Wellness Clinic manages Dry Eyes.

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