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Dry Eye Syndrome & Reflex Tearing

 

Now that you have been diagnosed with dry eyes and reflex tearing, you might have some questions regarding this paradoxical problem. Over 10 million people in the USA have this problem. It is more common in adult females; but males, children and the elderly are also affected.

 

Many patients question, if they have too few tears, why do they experience excessive tearing? It is a perplexing question, with a an interesting explanation. First, we should discuss some neurological anatomy. The surface of the eye is supplied with nerves that run to the brain, which sense when the eye is becoming dry. They send a message to the brain, which registers the information and returns an instruction to secrete a sudden gush of tears. The message is especially intended for the lachrymal (tear) gland, located under the upper and outer portions of the eyelid. The lachrymal gland is responsible for the production of the aqueous portion of tears.

 

Tears are secreted from several ducts into the space between the eyelids. They wash across the surface of the eye toward the nose. Two small holes, called puncta and located on the upper and lower eyelid, are connected to ducts (canaliculi) that drain into the nose. This explains why people sometimes taste drops placed in the eye.

 

There is no cure for dry eye syndrome. To treat dry eye, it is necessary to lubricate the eye with artificial tears with varying frequency. Most of the time the minimum required usage is at least four times a day. Under severe conditions, they may be necessary every half-hour. Occasionally, lubricating ointment is needed, but tends to blur vision a great deal.

 

Treatment

 

There are several tear supplements on the market and all of them are over-the- counter, so they can be purchased without a prescription. The list of brands is long, but here are some of the most common:

 

This list is by no means exhaustive. We tend to recommend non-preserved solutions because some people develop a sensitivity to preservatives with extended use.

 

New procedures to treat severe cases are in research and development. One of these involves closure of the drainage ducts (puncta) through which tears drain into the nose. A silicon punctal plug is placed in the lower punctum. This is done in the office to evaluate whether there is a difference in eye comfort. The procedure can be reversed but should be considered permanent, all the more so because no maintenance is required of the plug.

Temporary collagen plugs are of little benefit, even for diagnosis.

If the plug is dislodged, a larger one is put its place. Although rarely, irritation is sometimes noticeable in the first 24 to 48 hours. If it persists, the plug can be removed.

If you find that the plug offers the comfort level you desire, the punctum can be permanently closed with a cautery unit. The cautery procedure can be done in our office. It should be regarded as permanent, although it can be reversed with extensive surgery.

 

Another treatment for dry eye syndrome that has recently been approved is the use of cyclosporin eye drops. This method has shown great promise and requires a prescription. It only needs to be used twice per day.

 

Also, we have found that taking one to 5 grams of flaxseed oil (omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids) can greatly benefit people with this condition.

 

We hope this short discussion will help you to better understand  and treat this unpleasant condition.

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Dangerous Symptoms |  Laser Surgery |  Site Map | Meet Our Doctors  |  Map  | Forms | Photos 

 Home | Patient Education | Patient Instructions | Laser FAQ | Cataract FAQ | About Our Doctors
Pfoff Laser and Eye, 6881 South Yosemite Street | Centennial, Colorado 80112 | 303-588-7900| info@pfofflaserandeye.com