Dry Eye Syndrome Disease

Lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye is referred to as dry eye syndrome or dry eye disease (DES or dry eye). Consequences of DES range from the inability to wear contact lenses and minor irritation to an increased risk of corneal inflammation and eye infections.

Common symptoms of dry eye syndrome (disease) include persistent dryness, scratchiness, and a burning sensation on your eyes. While these symptoms alone may be enough for your eye doctor to diagnose dry eye syndrome (disease), sometimes, they opt to measure the number of tears in your eyes by placing a thin strip of filter paper at the edge of the eye, called a Schirmer test.

People with dry eyes sometimes experience a “foreign body sensation” – the feeling that they have something in their eye. Conversely, dry eye syndrome can sometimes cause watery eyes because the excessive dryness overstimulates the production of the watery component of your eyes' tears.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

In dry eye syndrome/disease, the tear glands that moisturize the eye don’t produce enough tears, or the tears have a chemical composition that causes them to evaporate too quickly.

Dry eye syndrome (disease) has several causes.

  • The natural aging process, especially among women over age 40 - possibly due to hormone fluctuations.
  • A side effect of many medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson’s medications, and birth control pills.
  • Living in a city like Calgary, which tends to be dry and dusty with low humidity.
  • Long-term contact lens wear, eyelid disease, and a deficiency of tear-producing glands. 

If your home or office has air conditioning or a dry heating system, that too can dry out your eyes. Another cause is insufficient blinking, such as when you’re staring at a computer screen all day. Recent research suggests that smoking can increase your risk of dry eye syndrome (disease).

Dry eyes are also associated with certain systemic diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea or Sjogren’s Syndrome (a triad of dry eyes, dry mouth, and rheumatoid arthritis or lupus). Dry eye has also been associated with incomplete lid closure following blepharoplasty – a popular cosmetic surgery to eliminate droopy eyelids.

3 locations to serve you

Blink Eyewear operates no fewer than 4 convenient locations across Calgary. Our clinics in Creekside, West Springs and Crowfoot are all outfitted with experienced optometrists and opticians, the latest optometry instruments, and a wide range of brand frames. Whether you are shopping for a new pair of glasses, getting an eye exam, or treating a severe eye condition, visit any of our 4 clinics for an eye-popping experience.

In addition to our physical stores, we also offer telehealth services so that you can ensure your ocular health from the comfort of your home!

Treatment for Dry Eye

While dry eye syndrome/disease is a chronic condition that treatments may be unable to cure, the symptoms of dry eye – including dryness, scratchiness and burning – can usually be successfully managed.

Your eye care professional may recommend artificial tears, which are lubricating eye drops that may alleviate the dryness and foreign body sensation. They may also prescribe a steroid for more immediate short-term relief or eye drops especially formulated for dry eye syndrome/disease to help increase your tear production.

Punctal Plugs - a small, sterile device that is inserted into one of the tear drainage ducts that are located in the inner corner of your eyes. Punctal plugs reduce tear drainage and increase the amount of tears that remain on the surface of your eyes. Lacrisert (Bausch + Lomb) is another option for dry eye treatment. It is a tiny insert filled with lubricating ingredients placed just inside the lower eyelid.

If you wear contact lenses, you need to be aware that many artificial tears cannot be used during contact lens wear. Remove your lenses before using the drops and wait 15 minutes or longer (check the label) before reinserting them. Contact lens rewetting drops may be sufficient for mild dry eye syndrome/disease to make your eyes feel better, but the effect is usually only temporary. Your eye care professional will be able to advise whether switching to another lens brand can help, as well as which eye drop formulas are most effective. 

The effects of sun, wind and dust can have a drying effect on your eyes so wear sunglasses when outdoors. Wraparound style sunglasses offer the best protection.

Indoors, a humidifier adds moisture to air that’s too dry because of air conditioning or heating, and an air cleaner can filter out dust and other particles from the air.

If your dry eye is caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), your doctor may recommend warm compresses and suggest an in-office procedure to clear the blocked glands and restore normal function.

Special nutritional supplements containing certain essential fatty acids to decrease dry eye symptoms may be recommended by your eye care doctor. Drinking more water may also offer some relief.

If the cause of your dry eyes is medication, discontinuing the drug will generally resolve the problem. Sometimes simply switching to another type of medication may alleviate dry eye symptoms while maintaining your treatment. Consult your doctor to explore options for alternate medication. Do not stop or change medications without consulting your doctor first.

Treatment of underlying eyelid disease helps as well and may require steroid drops, antibiotics, and frequent eyelid scrubs with an antibacterial shampoo.

Dry eye syndrome may disqualify you for LASIK or other types of vision correction surgery as you are at increased risk for poor healing. If you are considering LASIK, be aware that your surgeon will want to treat the dry eyes first to ensure a good outcome.

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Outstanding vision care across Calgary

Outstanding vision care across Calgary

Blink Eyewear is the largest provider of vision services and care in Calgary, operating no fewer than 3 accessible locations across the region. All of our stores are inventoried with the most sought-after designer and commercial frames and eyewear for all occasions and purposes. 

Home to experienced optometrists and opticians, our stores also offer comprehensive eye exams to individuals of all ages, emergency eye care, and the treatment and management of eye conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.

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Blink Eyewear boasts the largest collection of eyewear in Calgary, but our 3 locations are also home to the region’s finest optometrists. Just as you will not find a better store to shop for your eyewear, you will not find a better vision clinic to do your eye exam or treat your eye condition. 

Go ahead and Blink; what you see is really what you get. Call one of our store numbers or fill out the form below to book an appointment.

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