A person wearing contact lenses and suffering from DES

Dry Eye Syndrome: Causes and Treatments

Many people prefer contact lenses over eye-pieces because they are comfortable and convenient. Modern and technologically advanced contact lenses are designed to adapt to the environment. They provide adaptive vision without the need of wearing spectacles and modifying appearance. Contact lenses are easy to handle and neither do they require care like eyeglasses nor do you have to carry them in horizontal boxes wherever you go.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30 million Americans wear contact lenses claiming better comfort and ease. But not all are happy candidates in this category due to a condition called dry eye syndrome where patients experience discomfort and reddened eyes.

If you feel uncomfortable with your lenses on, and your eyes do not produce enough tears to provide lubrication, then you might have dry eye syndrome. If not treated on time, it can further lead to conjunctivitis or glaucoma – conditions that add to the optometric severity.

Possible Causes of Dry Eye Syndrome

Many times, people do not realize the likelihood of having or catching a dry eye syndrome because they are unaware of its possible causes. A study by National Eye Institute (NEI), approximately 5 million people in the United States suffer from DES. The figures are huge and show the prevalence of this threatening ailment.

If you happen to wear contact lenses for longer time periods, it can also be the reason for you developing dry eye syndrome.

Here are some causes of Dry eye

  • DES may occur due to aging – mostly the case with older patients
  • Damaged tear ducts and tear glands across the eyes might cause DES because when tear ducts get blocked, tears do not drain, causing irritated and watery eyes. Meibomian gland dysfunction is a major cause of dry eye.
  • Menopause and hormonal changes – case with elderly women.
  • Heavy medications such as anti-depressants, antihistamines, birth control, antibiotics, and blood pressure.
  • Auto-immune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome can cause dry eye syndrome as well as dry mouth.

Possible Solutions of Dry Eye Syndrome

  • A professional optometrist can identify the severity of your case and the reasons that caused you DES.
  • You might also be prescribed some lubricating eye-drops to treat your syndrome in case your eyes do not produce tears or induce friction. Some artificial tears include Refresh or Systane.
  • In severe cases, after trying all the medications, if the syndrome still persists then you might have to undergo a procedure where a drain is plugged in the eyes to create moisture. This usually can be done by warm compresses. Many ODs choose Bruder pads.
  • Many times switching to a different contact lens can relieve symptoms.
  • There are also lenses that contain water in the form of a silicone hydrogel. Daily lenses might be a good option for dry eye patients.
  • Switching to hydrogel lenses that are silicone-based can be better compared to normal hydrogel lenses because they avert water evaporation.
    • Other treatments include Restasis, Cequa and collagen plugs.
    • A new biologic Regener-eyes can help with dry eyes as well.

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