Dry Eye

Cataract & Eye Consultants of Michigan

Recent studies estimate that nearly 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from dry eye disease (DED). The International Dry Eye Workshop defines the disease as follows: “Dry eye disease is a multifactorial disorder of the tears and ocular surface, associated with symptoms of discomfort, visual disturbance, and tear film instability. It is accompanied by increased osmolarity of the tear film and inflammation of the ocular surface.”

Our eyes need tears to stay healthy and comfortable. DED is a condition where we do not produce enough tears, or we do not produce good quality tears to properly lubricate the eyes.

Symptoms of dry eye may include:

  • burning/stinging eyes
  • gritty feeling eyes, like there is something in your eye
  • red, itchy or irritated eyes
  • intermittent blurring of vision (that may improve or change with blinking)
  • crusting or mucous in or around the eyes
  • tearing (feeling like you always have to wipe your eyes)
  • discomfort with contact lens use

Contributors to dry eye may include:

  • hormonal changes with age
  • eyelid conditions such as blepharitis (inflamed, crusty, red eyelids) and entropion (eyelid turning in) or ectropion (eyelid turning out)
  • ocular conditions such as eye allergies or prolonged contact lens wear
  • environmental triggers such as smoke, wind, dry climate, air conditioning/fans, makeup/makeup remover
  • certain daily activities result in decreased blinking such as screen time (computer, TV, cellular phone) or reading
  • eye surgery
  • certain diseases such as Sjögrens syndrome, thyroid disease, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • certain medications such as some blood pressure medications, allergy medications and anxiety medications

When you visit our office we will start by having you fill out a questionnaire to see how much your quality of daily life is affected by dry eye. You will have a comprehensive exam with one of our physicians, and specific diagnostic tests may be performed if needed.

Treatment focuses on targeting ocular surface inflammation, supplementing your own tears with artificial tears, and treating any contributing factors, including those mentioned above. The experienced doctors at Cataract and Eye Consultants will work with you and create a treatment plan depending on the severity of your dry eyes.