Your Natural Tears
Your eyes are mainly lubricated by tears produced by your tear glands located in the upper eyelids (below the eyebrows.) The natural tears produced by the tear producing glands make your eyes feel cool, comfortable, refreshed, and help prevent infections of your eye and eyelids.
Bllinking spreads a thin film of tears across the surface of your eyes. Then, the tears move to the inside area of the eye and through the tear drainage ducts into the nose and throat.
What Causes Dry Eye?
There are many possible causes of dry eye. The most common include:
Can Dryness Damage your Eyes
The answer is yes. Chronic or severely dry eyes may lead to severe infection of your eye and eyelids, corneal ulceration, scarring, permanent vision loss or even loss of your eyes. Lactoferrin, an immunoprotein and anti-infectious agent) is decreased in dry eye individuals and this is one reason, why dry eye people are more prone to eye infections.
Diagnosing Dry Eye Syndrome
Your physician may use a combination of several methods to determine whether you have Dry Eye.
Eye Drops : A few drops containing dye in each eye will help your doctor to check for any dry spots.
Color Bar Schirmer Test: This simple, painless test assesses tear volume. By placing the tip of a specially treated strip of paper in the lower lid of your eye, your doctor is able to measure the amount of tears your eye produces in a five minute period.
Temporary Closing of Tear Ducts: In this method, your physician inserts small dissolvable collagen plugs into your tear ducts to prevent tear drainage and allow tears to build up and bathe the eyes. Collagen plugs dissolve in just a few days. If you get relief from your symptoms during the test period, your physician may recommend permanent closure of your tear ducts with long-term plugs.
Short-term Relief with Artificial Tears: For patients with less severe dry eye symptoms, artificial tears can often offer immediate relief. Unfortunately, this remedy is usually temporary. While artificial tears may soothe the eyes initially, they can increase the possibility of infection by washing away the natural infection-fighting tear film of the eye.
This is why patients with more severe cases of dry eye may benefit from having their tear ducts permanently closed. This long-term solution allows patients to use their own natural tears to treat their condition. Long-term Relief with Punctum Plugs There is a simple non-surgical procedure that provides long-term relief of Dry Eye that involves the use of permanent, yet removable plugs called Punctum Plugs.
Evaluate your diet: Drink enough purified (not tap) water? It is best to drink lots of water between meals and less with your meals. Drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day, and limit sodas, caffeine, alcohol. Include fish, soy and other legumes, and fish oil (with Vitamin D) in your diet. These provide essential fatty acids to protect cells and stabilize the tear film. Green leafy vegetables and to a lesser extent meat supply the B vitamins. Those supplements that are good for arthritis appear to be build up other membranes such conjunctiva, mouth, nose and ears. Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, which come from plants (such as fresh flaxseed, oil of evening primrose, borage) or from cold water fish (such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, halibut and cod, but surface fish is safer than bottom feeders) are loaded with these good fats. A good supplement is approximately 500 mg of DHA (fish oil), or fresh flaxseed oil twice daily with meals. People also report that glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate and gelatin have also helped their eyes, in addition to their arthritis. Promote good digestion through water intake, exercise, lactobacillus and even digestive enzymes if necessary.
Punctal Plugs or Inserts
There are a number of reasons why punctum plugs have become the most popular method of treating dry eye. They have a very high rate of success; and they can be inserted easily and painlessly by a physician. They are also reversible if too much tearing is produced. The idea behind punctum plugs is simple. Tiny, non-dissolvable plugs are inserted into you tear drainage ducts (puncta) where they act as a dam. Therefore your precious tears have no place to go but onto the surface of your eyes.
FCI "Ready-Set" Punctum Plugs The advanced design of FCI punctum plugs makes them the most efficient and comfortable plugs available. They are specially cut to follow the natural contour of the eye lid surface at the point of insertion. This assures a tighter seal, maximum comfort, and permanent relief. Made from the highest quality medical grade silicone, FCI's punctum plugs have slanted, ultra-thin collarettes that fit flush against the eyelid margin for total occlusion and maximum comfort. If your physician recommends permanent duct closure for your eyes, ask him to consider using FCI punctum plugs.
Why do my eyes feel this way? Your eyes are a delicately balanced eco-system in which tears play a large and important role. Every time you blink, tears form a coating that protects and nourishes the eyes' surface. When tear production is reduced, your eyes feel dry, scratchy and irritated. Ironically, the tear producing glands sometimes react to the dry, scratchy feeling by watering more than ever. But these "reflex tears" do not relieve the dryness as they lack a natural component that is essential to lubricate the cornea properly.
Medications for Dry Eyes include restasis, doxycycline, lotemax, etc.
If you experience one or any combination of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from a medical condition known as Dry Eye:
Leading manufacturers of Punctal Plugs include:
SmartPlugs, FCI Ophthalmics, Lacrimedics, Ciba Vision Care, Eagle Vision, Parasol