Burning, redness, a gritty feeling, and eye fatigue are often signs of dry eye syndrome, the most common form of eye irritation. To see how common it really is, just take a look at the dozens of artificial tear bottles in the eye care aisle of any drugstore. Dry eyes syndrome is very common and often goes unrecognized and untreated. It is usually not a serious condition but it can be troublesome. It can interfere with contact lens wear, computer use, and other visual tasks.
Computers, LASIK, and Dry Eyes
Many factors affect normal tear production. For example, age causes a permanent decrease in tear production. Computer use, contact lens wear, LASIK, low humidity, and certain medications may cause temporary ocular dryness. Computer use, combined with contact lens wear can really cause dryness problems because people blink less often while using the computer.
The majority of patients who decide to have LASIK have relatively dry eyes. Many have chosen LASIK because of problems with contact lenses. LASIK frequently worsens dry eye symptoms for several months after the procedure.
Dry Eye Treatment
Most of the time, taking occasional breaks to use preservative-free eye drops, decreasing contact lens wearing time, or other simple measures recommended by your eye doctor are sufficient to treat this condition. When these are not enough, we use a simple, 5-minute, in-office technique called punctal plugs. In this painless non-surgical procedure, tiny, soft, invisible plugs are used to temporarily close off the tear drains of your lids (like closing the drain in a sink to keep the water in it longer). People tell us it sounds a bit unusual, but it really works. This treatment, which is often covered by insurance plans, has allowed many of our patients to wear their contact lenses comfortably again, work at the computer without frequent breaks, and greatly reduce their need for eye drops.
Learn more about alleviating Dry Eyes Syndrome by contacting our eye care practice in Chevy Chase, Maryland.