Dry Eye Management

Dry eye occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly, or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly. In addition, inflammation of the surface of the eye may occur along with dry eye. If left untreated, this condition can lead to pain, ulcers, or scars on the cornea, and some loss of vision. However, permanent loss of vision from dry eye is uncommon. Dry eye can make it more difficult to perform some activities, such as using a computer or reading for an extended period of time, and it can decrease tolerance for dry environments, such as inside an airplane.


Dry eye symptoms may include any of the following:

  • stinging or burning
  • a sandy or gritty feeling as if something is in the eye
  • episodes of excess tears following very dry periods
  • a stringy discharge
  • pain and redness
  • episodes of blurred vision
  • heavy eyelids
  • inability to cry when emotionally stressed
  • uncomfortable contact lenses
  • decreased tolerance of reading, working on the computer, or any activity that requires sustained visual attention
  • eye fatigue


Dry eye can be a temporary or chronic condition caused by any of the following:

  • Aging: you may not produce enough tears or your tears may be of poor quality
  • Environment: dry air may cause your eyes to dry out
  • Activities: reading, driving, or looking at a computer screen causes you to blink less because you are concentrating on the task
  • Medicine: some medications may decrease your body’s ability to produce tears. Examples of such are antihistamines, birth control pills, diuretics, and beta blockers
  • Disease: some systemic diseases reduce tear production. These include some types of arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Leukemia, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Eyelid problems: the position of the eyelids and the ability of the eyelids to close properly are crucial in keeping the eyes lubricated


Depending on your symptoms and the cause of your dry eye, your doctor will recommend a tailored treatment regimen to try to reduce your symptoms. The most common treatment is the use of over-the-counter lubricants or artificial tears to supplement the lack of your body’s natural tear production. There are medications that your doctor may prescribe that either try to stimulate your body’s natural tear production (Restasis or Cequa) or control the inflammatory aspect associated with some forms of dry eye (Xiidra). Also a simple, in office procedure can place silicone plugs into the opening of your tear ducts to decrease how quickly tears drain from your eye. Your doctor will examine your eyes and recommend the treatment or combination of treatments right for you.