Dry Eye Syndrome is one of the most common problems treated by eye physicians. Poor quality of the tear film that lubricates the eyes is the main cause of this condition.
Dry Eye Syndrome is related to improper functioning of internal eye structures responsible for creating fluids that moisturize and coat the eye to prevent evaporation. Dry eye can result when tear production is deficient, or when tear drainage systems malfunction or become blocked.
Although Dry Eye Syndrome occurs as a part of the natural aging process, there are many other causes. Recent research suggests that smoking and taking multivitamins can increase your risk of dry eye syndrome. Certain medications also have been shown to cause decreased tear production, including diuretics, steroids, and antidepressants. Clinical studies also have linked common allergy medications, such as antihistamines, with dry eye. Dry eye is more common in women, possibly due to hormone fluctuations that results in decreased tear or fluid production in the eye.
Dry Eye Syndrome is an ongoing condition that cannot be cured, but can be managed. Regular use of artificial tears may provide relief. Some of these products are watery and alleviate the symptoms temporarily, while others are thicker and adhere to the eye longer. Preservative-free tears are recommended because they are the most soothing and have fewer additives that may cause irritation.
Sometimes too much moisture drains out of the eye through the lacrimal (tear) ducts. Temporary or permanent plugs in the lacrimal ducts usually solve this problem, though sometimes the ducts need surgical blockage.