Many patients experience the stinging, burning, scratchy sensation that is so common with dry eye sufferers. As we get older, our tear production decreases. Many medications can also contribute to dry eye: antihistamines, decongestants, anti-depressants, hormone replacement therapy, diuretics, beta blockers. Many systemic diseases have associated dry eye: thyroid disease, arthritis, and diabetes. Environmental and lifestyle factors also play a role, such as: ceiling fans, prolonged computer use, caffeinated beverages, smoking, outdoor activities. In Colorado, our climate is dry and the higher in the mountains one goes, the drier it gets.
There are many over-the counter artificial tear products that can provide relief for the occasional dry eye patient: Systane, Systane Ultra, Optive, Genteal, Soothe. But, for those patients who have more persistent symptoms, removable silicone plugs can be inserted in the tear duct openings of the eyelids to help prevent loss of tears. Also, there are some new prescription medications that may be helpful in the management of their dry eye. Restasis, Lotemax, and Freshkote are prescription eye drops that have been successful in the treatment and long-term management of many dry eye patients. Ask your doctor if you might benefit from this advanced therapy for dry eyes.
Author: Dr. Bret Harrison
Associates In Vision Care
2110 Hollow Brook Drive, Colorado Springs CO