Oftentimes, the term ‘dry eyes’ can cause the image of eyes that are dried out. That is part of it, but there is more to this common problem than meets the eye.
At The Rx Advocates, we know how expensive medicine is for dry eyes. This is even true if you have insurance. We want to help lower the cost of medications. This is done through our prescription discount program.
A Glance at Dry Eyes
Dry eye or dry eye syndrome is a condition in which the eyes are not adequately lubricated by tears. The tear ducts either do not make enough tears or they do not work the right way. Because the tears are unstable, the eyes’ surface will become inflamed and damaged.
Dry eyes can put a damper on someone’s day. It can cause problems with daily activities. However, there are ways to help the eyes feel better and keep dry eyes from being a hindrance.
Different Types of Dry Eye
There are two different types of dry eye.
- Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye: Low tear production
- Evaporative dry eye: Tears evaporate too quickly
Dry eye syndrome can also be known as:
- Lacrimal keratoconjunctivitis
- Keratoconjunctivitis sicca
- Dysfunctional tear syndrome
- LASIK-induced neurotrophic epitheliopathy
- Evaporative tear deficiency or aqueous tear deficiency
Causes of Dry Eye
There is not one specific cause for dry eye. As people age, they make fewer tears. Dry eye affects men and women but is more prevalent in women. This is especially true for post-menopausal women.
Other factors could cause dry eye:
- Certain diseases:
- Sjögren’s disease
- Thyroid disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Being in a climate that is windy, smoky, or very dry
- Long-time contact lens use
- Swollen or red eyelids (Blepharitis)
- Activities that reduce blinking such as reading or looking at a computer for too long
- Eyelids that turn in (Entropion) or out (Ectropion)
- Refractive eye surgery like LASIK
- Certain medications:
- Beta-blockers (for blood pressure or heart problems)
- Sleeping pills
- Heartburn medicines
- Diuretics (water pills)
- Allergy medicines
- Antihistamines (allergy medicines)
- Anxiety medicines
Preventing dry eyes is a key component of keeping the eyes healthy. Trying to avoid the situations where these risk factors would be present, if possible, is beneficial.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
There are some common symptoms that may occur with dry eyes:
- Burning, stinging, or itchy eyes
- Gritty feeling; feeling like something is in the eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Watery eyes followed by dry eyes
- Stringy mucous
- Blurry vision
- Eye fatigue
- Heavy eyelids
- Difficulty with contacts
- Inability to cry
- Eye strain when reading or using a screen
There are a few different treatments for dry eye. The eye doctor will decide the best course of treatment for the patient.
- Surgery: The ducts that drain into the nose can be closed
- Temporary punctal occlusion: A dissolvable plug is put into the lower eyelid drain
- Permanent punctal occlusion
- Artificial teardrops
- Autologous serum drops
- Prescription medications
There are several medications that are FDA approved to treat dry eye.
- Restasis (Cyclosporine ophthalmic)
- Cequa (Cyclosporine ophthalmic)
- Tyrvaya (Varenicline)
- Xiidra (Lifitegrast ophthalmic)
- Lotemax (Loteprednol etabonate)
Newer treatments for underlying problems: