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Dry Eye Syndrome

There are millions of people in the world who suffer from chronic dry eyes. Dry eyes syndrome is a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture in the eye. It occurs as part of the natural aging process, especially during menopause. Often, dry eye is caused by ocular surface disease, other times it can be caused by medications one has to take. These include antihistamines, oral contraceptives, antidepressants and blood pressure medications. Living in a dry, dusty, windy climate may also cause dry eye. Another cause is insufficient blinking such as when you are staring at a computer screen all day.

Dry eyes can also be a result of systemic diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Rosacea, Sjogren’s Syndrome and Lupus.

Patients who have had LASIK, Radial Keratotomy and other refractive type surgeries may suffer from dry eyes. The main cause of this is a decrease in tear production that can cause eye discomfort and blurred vision. Almost half of all LASIK patients experience a certain degree of dry eye syndrome, according to the April 2006 issue of American Journal of Ophthalmology. Some patients, particularly those who underwent Radial Keratotomy, may have open incisions in their corneas which never healed. This may cause significant pain and discomfort.

Persistent dryness, scratching and burning in the eyes are symptoms of dry eye syndrome. Some people will also experience a foreign body sensation; the feeling that something is in the eye. Sometimes watery and tearing eyes can result from dry eye syndrome, because the excessive dryness causes the overproduction of the watery component of the tears.

Until now, the main treatment for dry eye has involved the use of a variety of artificial tears. One eye drop, Restasis (cyclosporine in a castor oil base), actually increases tear production. Recent research has demonstrated that one of the most promising systems for alleviating the pain caused by dry eye is the scleral lens. Our specialty practice has helped many patients who have suffered with chronic dry eyes. Conventional contact lenses don’t provide clear vision for more than a limited amount of time. Almost all of these patients have found significant improvement in their vision and quality of life because of scleral lenses.

These lenses are custom made for each patient and are fitted in a way to vault the cornea and maintain a constant reservoir of fluid between the lens and the cornea to ensure that it remains hydrated. This protects the ocular surface from the environment and blinking friction caused by the eyelids. More over, this fluid layer also compensates for the surface irregularities, leading to improved vision. Our scleral lenses are highly permeable to oxygen and provide the comfort of a soft lens with higher optical quality. Most patients will have no sensation or awareness of the lens while wearing it.

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