What are the Symptoms of Dry Eyes?

  • Stinging or burning eyes
  • Grittiness or scratchiness
  • Stringy mucus in or around the eyes
  • Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
  • Blurred or Fluctuating Vision
  • Pain
  • Light Sensitivity
  • A feeling of a foreign body or sand in the eye
  • Excess tearing
  • Redness of the eye
  • Heavy eyelids
  • Increased eye irritation from smoke or wind
  • Decreased tolerance of reading, working on the computer, or any activity that requires sustained visual attention

Visual tasks can cause excessive evaporation of tears from reduced blinking. These tasks include prolonged periods of reading or computer use.

Excess tearing from “dry eye” may sound illogical, but it can be understood as the eye’s response to discomfort. If the tears responsible for maintaining lubrication do not keep the eye wet enough, the eye becomes irritated. Eye irritation prompts the gland that makes tears (called the lacrimal gland) to release a large volume of tears, overwhelming the tear drainage system. These excess tears then overflow from your eye.

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Learn More About Dry Eye

What Causes Dry Eye?

Patients typically fall in two categories: those who have excessive tear evaporation and those who do not produce enough tears. Dry eye can be a temporary or a chronic condition that can have multiple causes. They include:

  • Age – dry eye is a part of the natural aging process. The majority of people over age 40 experience some symptoms of dry eyes due to reduced tear production.
  • Gender – women are more likely to develop dry eyes due to hormonal changes caused by menopause, the use of oral contraceptives, and pregnancy.
  • Medications – certain medicines, including antihistamines, decongestants, pain relievers, blood pressure medications and antidepressants, can reduce the amount of tears produced in the eyes and produce dry eye symptoms.
  • Blepharitis or Meibomian Gland Dysfunction – these are chronic inflammatory diseases of the eyelids which can interrupt the production of tears and lead to evaporative dry eye.

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    What is Blepharitis

  • Environmental Conditions – exposure to cigarette smoke, wind, fans, forced hot air heat, and dry climates can increase tear evaporation resulting in dry eye symptoms.
  • Certain Visual Tasks – extended periods of reading or prolonged computer use can lead to excessive tear evaporation from reduced blinking.
  • Medical Conditions – persons with Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, ocular rosacea, diabetes and thyroid problems are more likely to have symptoms of dry eyes.
  • Low Omega 3 Fatty Acid Intake – Can lead to a decreased top lipid layer with faster tear evaporation and secondary dry eye issues.
  • Other Factors – long term use of contact lenses, or a history of refractive eye surgery, such as LASIK, can cause decreased tear production and dry eyes.

Diagnosing Dry Eye

Dry eyes can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination and specialized testing. This testing may include:

  • Dry Eye Questionnaire
  • Dry Eye Diagnostic App
  • Patient history to determine any symptoms the patient is experiencing and the presence of any general health problems, medications taken, or environmental factors that may be contributing to the dry eye problem.
  • External Examination of the Eye including lid structure and blink dynamics.
  • Evaluation of the Eyelids and Cornea using bright light and magnification.
  • Measurement of the Quantity and Quality of Tears for any abnormalities. Special dyes may be instilled in the eyes to better observe tear flow and to highlight any changes to the outer surface of the eye caused by insufficient tears.
  • External Examination of the Eye including lid structure and blink dynamics.
  • Tear Osmolarity Testing for Dry Eye Disease is the only available objective test to determine the severity of Dry Eye Disease. This test measures the concentration of your tears. Matossian Eye Associates is pleased to announce that we have been certified as one of only a few practices in the tri-state area as an accredited dry eye center of excellence by Tear Lab Corporation. We are licensed to perform tear osmolarity testing.

We take a tiny sample of tears from each eye and measure the osmolarity or concentration of the tears. The collection is painless and the analysis takes a few seconds. Once your Doctor has a measurement, s/he can design a personalized treatment plan specifically for you.

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Tear Osmolarity

Sjögren’s Syndrome Test

Matossian Eye Associates is now able to test for Sjörgen’s Syndrome through a simple test performed in our office.Sjögren’s Syndrome is one of the early hallmarks of dry eye disease, giving our physicians a unique opportunity to diagnose this disease in its very early stages.

Sjögren’s Syndrome is among the most common and under-diagnosed autoimmune diseases.  It affects approximately 4 million people in the US, of which 3 million are undiagnosed.  Currently, there is an average delay of 4.7 years for patients to receive an accurate diagnosis, and patients are often diagnosed in late stages of the disease after gland degradation has taken effect. Earlier detection is important to allow time for proper management.  MEA hopes to enhance the lives of the 1 in 10 estimated Dry Eye Patients who may actually be suffering from Sjögren’s Syndrome.

InflammaDry® is a cutting-edge rapid diagnostic test that is used in conjunction with other traditional modalities to help our physicians accurately identify and treat inflammatory dry eye disease.