Department of Ophthamology
Dry eye is the most treated eye condition in North America. It is estimated that as many as 15 million Americans suffer from dry eye. Dry eye tends to be more prevalent in the elderly, women and people who live in arid climates. Many medications (i.e. birth control pills, anti-histamines, anti-depressants) can cause dry eye as well as systemic disease (i.e. rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, acne rosacea).
People with dry eye often experience a burning sensation, red eyes, blurred vision, and ironically excessive tearing. Some people are unaware of their dry eye and can develop serious complications such as infection or permanent scarring which decreases vision.
Dry eye is a complex disease that requires a comprehensive evaluation by an eye doctor. The tear film is made up of three distinct layers; mucus layer, water layer, and an oil layer. If any one of these layers are deficient or altered, dry eye can result. There are many treatment options for dry eye, because there are so many different causes. Over the counter artificial tears typically only provide temporary relief by lubricating the inflamed tissue. Talk with your eye doctor about which therapy is right for you.