What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry Eye Syndrome, also knows as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) is a condition of having dry, irritating eyes. DES is very common (5-30% of the general population) and even more common in the elderly (up to 70% in patients above age 70). Symptoms can range from mild and occasional to severe and continuous. Dry Eye symptoms can range from feelings of dryness, itching, burning, and sandy/gritty feeling of the eyes to constant burning, blurry vision, redness and pain.
Many forms of Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) can occur from modern lifestyle habits such as excessive computer and cell phone use, contact lens wear and overuse to eating unhealthy fats and smoking. DES can also be from a variety of illnesses of the eyes that can contribute to a lack of moisture and ultimately lead to discomfort, pain and vision loss. There are main illnesses of the eyes that can either directly or indirectly cause Dry Eye Syndrome (DES). Some of these conditions are pregnancy, meibomian gland dysfuntion, Vitamin A deficiency, LASIK surgery, Sjogren syndrome, etc among many others. There are also many types of medications that can cause DES, such as blood pressure medications, antihistamines, antidepressants, hormone replacement therapy and others.
In order to understand DES, we must first understand what keeps our eyes healthy and moisturized. The eyes are always creating a moisture retaining environment as part of the natural system of maintaining healthy eyes. This moisture control environment is made up of 3 layers that are very important for maintaining healthy and moisturized eyes. Our eyes produces these 3 layers in order to keep us comfortable and is a critical part of maintaining vision clarity. These 3 layers include:
- Tears: the watery component (produced by the tear glands, found on the inside of eyelids)
- Oil: the oily component, necessary for holding onto the tears and providing a barrier and added lubrication to the surface of the eyes (produced by the Meibomian glands, found on the borders of eyelids)
- Mucus: the “glue” that holds the watery and oily components together to provide the needed barrier to outside elements/toxins in the environment and the lubrication for maintaining healthy moisturized eyes
Anytime there is a disruption of any of the above 3 layers or there is abnormality of these layers, it can lead to the symptoms commonly felt from Dry Eye Syndrome. There are many ways to diagnose and treat Dry Eyes but we must first determine the cause in order to treat that condition and go back to the healthy eyes that we need to see clearly. At Vision Specialists of California, we advise all our patients to consult with specialists so that we can determine the cause, treat the condition and get you back to Feeling Better right away.
At Vision Specialists of California, we take the utmost care to fully evaluate and treat your eyes according to the guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (USA certifying body). We treat you with the time and respect you deserve as not just another patient, but a fellow human being and a member of our community. Please Call (619) 501-9050 or contact our offices to set up a consultation with our specialists and get the care you deserve.
Please find more information at the American Academy of Ophthalmology website for Dry Eye: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-dry-eye