Dry Eyes

Dry EyesThe surface of the eyes requires moisture to stay healthy and maintain clear vision. The cornea is the clear membrane which is in front of the colored part of the eye. Dryness of the eyes causes an irregular surface on the cornea. As dryness gets worse, eye irritation increases and vision becomes more blurry. When the eyes get dry, both vision and eye health can be compromised. Dry eyes are a common problem in the Palm Springs area. The desert provides numerous environmental challenges for dry eye sufferers. Residents are exposed to low humidity, wind, dust, sand, air conditioning, heat, and fans. These exposures exacerbate dry eyes.

Causes of dry eye include:

  • Aging - diminishes tear production
  • Gender - women more commonly get dry eyes because of hormonal changes
  • Medical conditions such as Sjogren’s disease, diabetes, and thyroid disorders
  • Computer use - decreased blinking
  • Medications - commonly seen with allergy medications such as antihistamines
  • Changes in eyelid shape or anatomy - includes incompletely closing of eyelids
  • Contact lens wear
  • LASIK or laser refractive surgery

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To treat dry eyes, we need to increase moisture to the eyes, or decrease the moisture leaving the eyes. Controlling environmental exposures is an important step. Avoid wind, dust, heat, fans, smoke as well as wearing eye protection. Using a humidifier can increase the amount of moisture available to the eyes. Omega-3 fatty acids and nutritional supplements can improve dry eye symptoms.

Lubricants will add moisture to the eye surface. Artificial tears and gels will moisturize the eye. Ointments can be used for night time use. Prescription drops such as Restasis can increase tear production. Punctal plugs are tiny plugs which slow down tear drainage. They increase the tear volume which is left to lubricate the eye. These punctal plugs can be inserted in the office and work to alleviate dry eye symptoms. Keeping dry eyes controlled is important in maintaining eye health and good vision.

36921 Cook Street, Suite 103 Palm Desert, CA 92211

Freeway Close. Just off the I-10 at Cook Street
Southwest Corner of Cook & Gerald Ford

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