Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that worsens with age. An estimated 1.68 million men and 3.2 million women over the age of 50 in the United States are affected by dry eye syndrome. The first goal is to identify the type of ocular dryness. Dry eye syndrome typically falls into two broad categories: aqueous deficient (the eyes don’t make enough tears or they drain too quickly) or evaporative (the tears dry up quickly). Certain medical conditions can be associated with dry eyes, such as arthritis, rosecea, thyroid complications, diabetes, connective tissue disorders, and autoimmune conditions to name a few. Dry eye syndrome can also be caused or worsened by certain systemic medications like antihistamines, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, sleeping medications, and more.
Dry eye can present in many different ways including pain, irritation, a gritty or sandy feeling in the eyes, decreased or fluctuating vision, and red, blood-shot eyes. We employ advanced testing techniques to assess the dry eye complications and tailor the treatment and management of that condition for each individual. Treatment options can include artificial tears, topical and oral medications, home therapy techniques, specialty contact lenses, and temporary or permanent plugs to reduce the drainage of tears. Autologous serum drops can be made by ordering blood to be drawn at a lab and using certain biologic markers to design an eye drop specific to the individual.
Blepharitis involves inflammation of the eyelids. This can be associated with or separate from dry eye syndrome. Blepharitis can be linked to certain skin conditions, bacteria growth on the surface of the skin, allergies, and others. It often presents with reddened, crusty, and swollen eyelids and can itch or burn. Once again, the treatment and management of this condition will be tailored to the individual based on cause and symptoms.