dry eye

This describes ocular surface irritation that occurs from an irregularity of the tear film. Dry eye causes eye irritation and redness. Many people complain of a feeling that the eyes are “tired,” especially in the evenings and when doing activities that require concentration (like reading, driving, or watching TV).  Ironically, most people with dry eye complain that their eyes are actually watery. This is because dry eyes tend to sting.  This irritation causes a tearing reflex from the lacrimal gland that overloads the eye with fluid. For most people, dry eye happens either because of an insufficiency in the amount of tears produced, or a problem with the quality of the tears produced.  Treatment usually begins with over-the-counter rewetting drops. Other treatments include warm compresses (to open the tear glands), nighttime rewetting gels (to moisten the eyes while sleeping), punctal plugs (to keep the tears from draining too quickly), and medications such as Restasis. While dry eye sounds like a simple problem, it can be quite challenging to treat as it tends to be chronic and many of the treatments are short-lived.

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Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:

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