May 25, 2024

Keeping your eyes healthy by Dr. Stephanie Burris

Common complaints from my patients are often connected to a normal condition of aging. This condition is dry eye syndrome, also known as insufficient tear film.
If you have this condition your ocular symptoms can range from redness, burning, itching, tearing, sandy feeling, and glare sensitivity to even blurred vision. 

The tear film is a moisture layer on the cornea, the most delicate tissue on the surface, which focuses light through into the back of the eye, the retina. When the tear film is not sufficient due to decreased quantity or quality of production, it evaporates quickly, leaving your cornea dry and irritated. If you have a mild form of dry eye syndrome you may only feel symptoms in certain conditions, such as windy, dusty environments or in heated/ air-conditioned buildings. If you have a moderate or severe form of this eye disease, you may feel irritation most of the day even if you are using artificial tear eye drops regularly.

Common causes of insufficient tear film are:
Environment: hot, dry, windy, high altitude, indoor air flow, viewing television/ computer screen
Contact lens wear: contacts absorb moisture from your eyes throughout the day
Medications: decreased tear production possible from oral allergy or blood pressure medications, anti-depressants, or hormone replacement therapy
Systemic Health Conditions: all autoimmune diseases (thyroid, lupus, rosacea, rheumatoid arthritis), diabetes and others
Age: tear production gradually decreases in most people such that at age 65 the tear glands produce less than half of the tears they produced at age 18

Through extensive clinical research it has been determined that the decreased tear production is due to inflammation!  This is, in fact, the root cause of most disease in our bodies. Fortunately there are many ways to manage the symptoms of your dry eye syndrome and even to promote healing of your tear production glands so they can increase natural tear output.
Your treatment may include:

Prescription eye drops to reduce inflammation
Proper type and dosage of artificial tears
Tiny plugs for the tear drainage ducts
Warm eyelid compresses and massage
Oral medication
Oral nutritional supplements such as Omega 3-6-9, vitamin D3
Moisture goggles while sleeping

If you are troubled by the symptoms of dry eye syndrome please see your eye care specialist to discuss the best ways to treat your eyes.

By Dr. Stephanie Burris of Optometry Care Santa Barbara


  1. Bethe Cotton says:

    Thank you, Dr. Burris, for a clear, concise discussion on this topic.

Leave a Reply to Bethe Cotton Cancel reply