Dry eye, which is also known as dysfunctional tear syndrome, is a common complaint in people with autoimmune disorders. Dry eyes are a common symptom in a number of autoimmune disorders including Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid eye disease, ocular myasthenia gravis, lupus disorders, Cogan’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, Reiter’s disease, vasculitis, ocular pemphigoid disorders, and uveitis.
A modern day plague, eye dryness can also be caused by: excessive time spent at the computer, watching television, low humidity, LASIK surgery, inadequate sleep, dehydration, and it can occur as a consequence of many drugs, including antihistamines, caffeine, alcohol, and estrogens. In addition, eye dryness can occur in a number of conditions as diverse as hepatitis C and rosacea. Certain eye drops containing substances such as polyquad, sodium perborate, sodium silver chloride, sorbic acid, chlorobutanol, and benzalkonium chloride that are designed to reduce redness and provide moisture can also contribute to eye dryness. A better option is single-use preservative free artificial tears such as Thera-Tears. Contact lens wearers are also prone to eye dryness, therefore, contact lenses with high moisture content are preferred over conventional ones.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
Dry eye can cause eye pain, irritation, redness, visual disturbances, foreign body sensation, blurred vision, light sensitivity and grittiness. In conditions of dry eye, the eyes can also feel tired with sensations of stinging and burning. People who wear contact lenses may have trouble wearing their lenses for extended periods.
Conditions Resulting from Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye may cause eye redness and the formation of wrinkles. Chronic eye dryness also results in vision problems. Those suffering from the condition may require higher prescription eyewear. A common misconception is that those with dysfunctional tear syndrome can no longer wear contact lenses. In fact, they can wear colored contacts that offer lasting comfort and breathability.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Dry Eye
In his recently released book, The Dry Eye Remedy, Doctor Robert Latkany, founder and director of the Dry Eye Clinic at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and also the Dry Eye Center of New York, describes a home test for diagnosing eye dryness, and he describes the medical tests and exams that are used to diagnose eye dryness and measure tear film production. These tests also help to assess disease severity.
In addition, Doctor Latkany explains the importance of treating dry eye before symptoms progress. In addition to describing medical options, he explains the importance of lifestyle changes such as drinking adequate amounts of water, blinking sufficiently, and adding a humidifier, and he explains how nutritional supplements, including omega-3 oils and vitamin A, are important for eye health.
In his book, Doctor Latkany also describes an innovative Home Eye Spa program with a soothing eye-cleansing massage that improves eye circulation and helps restore eye moisture and goggles known as Tranquileyes that helps provide moisture during sleep. For readers with severe conditions of eye dryness, Doctor Latkany describes the use of plugs and other means of boosting tear film production. Sections on homeopathic preparations and a description of the drugs that contribute to eye dryness and the drugs that improve symptoms make this book a valuable addition for anyone who is at risk for or has symptoms of dry eye syndrome.