Dry Eye Syndrome is a condition caused by decreased tear production or increased tear film evaporation. Typical symptoms of dry eye are dryness, burning, and a sandy-gritty irritation that increases throughout the day. This may also be described as itchy, scratchy or red eye.
Both eyes are generally affected. Dry eye may even cause tearing. This happens when the eyes are irritated, but may not make the eyes feel better.
Because blinking coats the eye with tears, symptoms are worsened by activities in which the rate of blinking is reduced due to prolonged use of the eyes; such as abundant reading, computer usage, driving, or television viewing.
Symptoms increase in windy, dusty or smoky areas, in dry environments, high altitudes, in low humidity and in areas where an air conditioner, fan, heater, or hair dryer is being used. Dry eye can usually be diagnosed by the symptoms alone. Also, your doctor can perform a slit lamp examination to diagnose and document any damage to the eyes.
Mild to moderate dry eye is treated with lubricants, or artificial teardrops. More severe forms may be treated with prescription eye drops, anti-inflammatory drops, or in some cases by blocking tear drainage with plugs or surgery. Dry eye syndrome is usually recurring and can be monitored by your eye doctor at your yearly visit.
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