Dry eye is a condition which often goes undiagnosed and untreated, despite being a very prevalent and treatable disease. As the population ages, its prevalence is more than likely going to increase. Currently between 20 and 25 million Americans suffer from dry eyes. This includes 3.2 million women over the age of 50 and 15% of all Americans over age 65.
In order for our eyes to remain healthy, comfortable and give us clear vision, we must produce a normal quantity and quality of tears. Dry eye can have a substantial impact on the daily activities of individuals with the disease. Individuals who suffer from dry eyes have problems performing important visual activities such as night driving, reading, computer use and television viewing. People who suffer from severe chronic dry eye tend to be less productive at work and enjoy certain leisure activities less.
- Light sensitivity
- A gritty sensation
- A feeling of a foreign body or sand in the eye
- Ocular Fatigue
- Blurring and/or fluctuating vision
- Excessive tearing
- Gender (females are more affected than males)
- Menopausal hormone therapy
- Low omega-3 fatty acid intake
- Connective tissue/autoimmune diseases*
- LASIK surgery
- Certain medications
Other possible risk factors: Alcohol consumption, smoking, low androgen levels, dry environments and genetic predisposition.
*The most common diseases associated with dry eyes are
Sjogrens Syndrome, Ocular Rosacea and Arthritis.
1. Using a microscope to evaluate the health of the eyelids and the special glands along the lids will be preformed. The tear quality will be assessed along with subjective and objective assessment of the quantity of tears.
2. Special dyes will be used to measure the evaporation rate of tears and the health of the ocular surface.
3. The Phenol red thread test is used to asses the quantity of tears present.