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What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is characterized by the body’s inability to create tears (aqueous tear-deficient dry eye) or it creates poor quality tears that evaporate too quickly (evaporative dry eye).

Dry eye is often a chronic and progressive eye condition that is not typically curable, but can be managed therapeutically Through proper management, dry eye sufferers will experience a reduction of their symptoms and an increase in their eye comfort.

Who Can Develop Dry Eye?

Everyone has the potential to develop dry eye in their lifetime.

What Are The Potential Causes of Dry Eye?

Dry eye can be caused by certain medical conditions such as Lupus, Diabetes, or Rheumatoid Arthritis.

There are also a number of medications that can cause dry eye as a side effects. These medications may include:

  • Birth control
  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • High blood pressure medications
  • Hormone replacement therapy drugs
  • Antidepressants

Where you live or the conditions of that particular day may contribute to causing your dry eye. This includes low humidity climates, wind, smoke, or the dry air in your home.

What Are The Symptoms of Dry Eye?

Dry eye typically affects both eyes and the symptoms may present as any of the following:

  • Inability to cry
  • Sand or gritty feeling in the eye
  • Painful, red eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Periods of excess tears followed by very dry eyes
  • Mucus discharge around the eyes
  • Stinging or burning sensation
  • Blurry vision
  • Contact lenses become uncomfortable to wear

How is Dry Eye Treated?

The treatments our Optometrist may recommend will vary depending on the cause of your dry eye, and may be a combination of the following:

Artificial Tears and Ointments

This is typically the primary treatment for dry eye. Artificial tears are available over the counter and come in a vast selection of different forms and ingredients. If you find your eyes are exceptionally dry after a night’s sleep, a thicker lubricant (ointment) can be used at night.

Steroid Eye Drops

Certain cases of dry eye will present with inflammation of the eye and surrounding tissue. Steroid eye drops may be prescribed by our Optometrist to treat this inflammation. This is generally considered a short-term solution to quickly manage your symptoms. You may be instructed to use steroid eye drops in conjunction with artificial tears or restasis.  


Restasis eye drops are available by prescription and are normally used used in alongside artificial tears. Their purpose goes beyond the lubrication of your eyes. Restasis eye drops contain an agent that reduces the inflammation in your eye and promotes natural tear production.

Punctal Plugs

A punctal plug is a small, sterile device that can be used to treat dry eye. It helps tears remain on the surface of your eye longer by plugging the puncta (small opening of your tear drainage duct) and preventing the tears from draining away.

If you are unsure of the cause of your dry eye or would like assistance in properly managing your symptoms, we invite you to book an appointment with our Optometrist.