What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye is actually a collection of symptoms that make up an eye condition that stems from an imbalance in the quantity or quality of tears. These symptoms include dry, red, gritty, and even watery eyes. Often, Dry Eye sufferers report the feeling of something foreign within the eye or eye strain.

What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?

The moisture level in the eye is maintained by the balance of tear production and tear loss through drainage and evaporation. When this balance is not sustained, dry spots appear on the surface of the eye and cause irritation.

Can Watery Eyes Be a Symptom of Dry Eye Syndrome?

Yes. As odd as it sounds, many Dry Eye sufferers experience ‘wet eyes’ due to the tear glands overproducing watery or reflex tears to compensate for a lack of a balanced tear film.

How Do Tears Function?

Tears bathe and lubricate the eyes. Each time you blink, new tears are formed in the several glands located around each eye. A healthy tear film consists of a delicate balance of three layers:

  Outer Lipid (Oily) Layer - which reduces evaporation of the watery layer of tears.

  Middle Aqueous (Watery) Layer  - which consists of 98% water, and cleanses the front surface of the eye.

  Inner Mucin (mucus) Layer  - which stabilizes the tear film.

Can Dry Eye Syndrome Affect My Ability to Wear Contact Lenses?

Yes. Dry Eye Syndrome is the leading cause of contact lens intolerance or discomfort. Contacts can cause tears to evaporate from the eyes causing irritation, protein deposits, infection and pain.

Contact Lens

How is Dry Eye Syndrome Diagnosed?

Dr. D'Alberti can perform some simple in-office diagnostic tests to evaluate the quality and quantity of your tears. General health, medications and environmental factors will be a consideration in diagnosing Dry Eye.

How is Dry Eye Syndrome Treated?

Depending on the causes, Dry Eye Syndrome can be treated as a temporary problem or a lifelong disease requiring long-term treatment. Either way, tears must be conserved or replaced in order to provide relief.

  Replacing the Tears:

Artificial tears are probably the most common form of treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome. These will provide temporary relief, but usually have to be applied several times per day

  Conserving the Tears:

In cases of persistent Dry Eye symptoms, permanent, reversible closure of the tear duct or punctal occlusion, may be the best solution. Punctal occlusion allows you to retain your own, natural tears without the bother or expense of constantly replacing the tear film with artificial tears.

Tear Ducts
How Can Punctal Occlusion Help Me Keep My Natural Tears?

Punctal occlusion acts very much like a stopper in a sink. When the punctal opening is closed, tears stay on the eye longer. There are two basic methods of tear duct closure:

Cautery .
Punctum Plugs

What are Punctum Plugs?Punctum Plugs

Punctum Plugs are small, soft silicone implants, about the size of a sesame seed, which are non-surgically inserted into the natural tear drain opening (the "punctum"). The entire procedure can be performed in Dr. D'Alberti's office within a few seconds. Many patients report immediate relief from Dry Eye symptoms. Although silicone plugs are considered a permanent treatment for Dry Eye, Dr. D'Alberti can easily remove them if necessary, although this is rarely required.