Dry eye syndrome is caused by a lack of lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. The results can range from minor irritation, inability to wear contact lenses, and an increased risk of corneal inflammation and eye infections. Common signs and symptoms of dry eyes include persistent dryness, scratchiness, and a burning sensation. Some people with dry eyes may experience the feeling that something is in the eye. In some instances, dry eye syndrome can cause the eyes to water because the excessive dryness overstimulates the production of tears.
Dry eye syndrome is caused by the tear glands not producing enough of the moisture that forms tears, or the tears have a chemical composition that causes them to evaporate too quickly. Dry eye syndrome can occur as a part of the natural aging process, as a side effect of medications, or because you live in a dry, dusty or windy climate with low humidity. Dry eyes are also associated with diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea or Sjogren's syndrome.
The treatment for dry eyes syndrome focuses on relieving the symptoms including dryness, scratchiness, and burning. Artificial tears, which are lubricating eye drops, may be recommended to alleviate the dry, scratchy feeling and foreign body sensation associated with dry eye. For stronger cases of dry eye, prescription medicine such as Xydra or punctal plugs may be recommended. Punctal plugs are tiny devices are inserted in ducts in your lids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes to keep them moist. Treating any underlying eyelid disease, such as blepharitis, helps as well. This may call for antibiotic or steroid drops, plus frequent eyelid scrubs with an antibacterial shampoo.
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