What you need to know about Dry Eye

You may already have dry eye. 14% of the United States population already has dry eye.

About Tears

The human eye is lubricated by two kinds of tears produced by glands in the upper and lower eyelid.

Constant Tears

Constant tears are continuously formed to lubricate the eye and contain natural antibiotics to help fight infections.

Reflex Tears

Reflex Tears are produced ont in response to irritation, injury, or emotion. They help rinse the surface of the eye.

A balance is necessary between the two types of tears to ensure that your eyes are comfortable and protected. When constant tear flow is reduced, there is irritation that can cause excessive reflex tearing (watery eyes). These excess tears lack the oil needed to keep from evaporating and do not lubricate the eye.

What to expect after an eye surgery ?

Surgical procedures can disrupt the production of tears or the balance between constant and reflex tears. This lack of tears, or improper lubrication, results in Dry Eye. Dry Eye sufferers are less likely to achieve their optimal visual acuity and thus may have a greater need for further enhancement.

In this era of technical advances and ever changing surgical procedures, another type of Dry Eye syndrome, Post-surgical Dry Eye, commonly appears almost immediately after refractive surgery. Cataract patients may also suffer from the symptoms after their cataract surgery. The most common surgical procedures affected are:

  • Lasik
  • Epi-Lasik
  • RK
  • PKR
  • Multifocal Lens Refractive Surgery
  • Cataract Surgery

In most cases, unless Dry Eye was present before the surgery, post-surgical Dry Eye is almost always temporary, usually lasting only 3 months. In some cases, it can last as long as a year after the surgery.

Besides the physical discomfort of Dry Eye caused by compromised tear fim, this condition can affect the quality of your vision (Visual Acuity). Dry Eyes can add visual disturbances and affect near vision with multifocal lenses. If left untreated, the desired results of your surgery may not be fully achieved.

Dry Eye Treatment

Artificial tears and medications provide a quick, short-term solution to Dry Eye. However, the best solution for recurring Dry Eye may be tear duck closure which allows you to retain your own natural tears.

punctal plug - tear duct closure

Punctal Plug – Tear Duct Closure

Temporary closure of the tear duct (punctal canal) is accomplished by inserting a tiny plug (like a sink stopper) to prevent tear drainage. This allows your own tears to bathe your eye for a longer period of time. This dissolvable, temporary plug lasts up to 3 months.

Long-term closure of the tear drainage ducts involves the use of a non-dissolvable, yet removable, plug to seal the tear duct. This non-surgical procedure is painless and takes only a few minutes in your doctor’s office.

Dry Eye Relief

Relief from the discomfort of dry eyes may be immediate for some patients, while for others relief may bo more gradual. Artificial tears may be used in conjunction with punctal plugs for severe cases of Dry Eye.

Other Causes of Dry Eye

A lack of tears, improper lubrication, or tears draining too quickly from the eye result in a condition known as Dry Eye. Dry eye is a common problem that is easily diagnosed.

Aging and Dry Eyes

As we age, tear production decreases. Men and women of any age can be affected, however, after menopause and during pregnancy women are especially susceptible.

Contact Lenses and Dry Eyes

Wearing contact lenses often increases tear evaporation that can result in irritation, increased protein deposits, infection, and discomfort. Dry Eye has been shown to be the leading cause of contact lens discomfort and reduced wear time.


Exposure to various environments can reduce eye lubrication. These include sunny, dry or windy conditions; heaters, dehumidifiers, fans or air conditionning; sand, dust or pollen, smoke, high altitudes; work settings and prolonged computer use.

Medications that causes dry eyes - Talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that causes dry eyes


A variety of medications reduce tear secretion. Some common examples are decongestants, antihistamines, sleeping pills, beta-blockers, anti-depressans, diuretics, pain relievers, oral medication and alcohol.

Autoimmune disease

rheumatoid arthritis and dry eye

Rheumatoid arthritis and Dry eye

Many  diseases and disorders can cause dry eye, such as Sjogren’s Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s Disease and Diabetes.

Dry Eye Symptoms Checklist

If you have any of the symptoms below, you may have Dry Eye:

Source: Oasis Medical pamphlet 6540 REV 8/11

Simple Solutions to reduce dry eye symptoms right away