One of the most common conditions seen in our office is dry eyes and tearing. Gritty, burning, red, watery eyes, sometimes with eye pain, are some of the symptoms that our patients experience. These symptoms represent the imbalance in both the quantity and quality of tears. Even though many patients feel their eyes are excessively ‘watery’ or producing extra tears, this is, in fact, one of the primary indicators of dry eyes. The level of moisture in our eyes and the stability of the tear film is essential in good ocular health and in the quality of vision. If any part of the tear film is disrupted or lacking, vision can be mild to severely affected. The causes of dry eye are numerous but may include aging, systemic disease, medications, environmental conditions, computer use, and contact lens wear.
The treatments for dry eye include replacing and replenishing the tear film, decreasing the drainage of the tears so that they can bathe the eye longer, and decreasing any causes of inflammation that can aggravate the condition. Our doctors may suggest artificial tear replacement, small plugs that can be placed (without any pain) in the drainage channels to keep tears around longer, and/or Restasis and other newer medications to treat the underlying inflammation and create more tears.
Tearing disorders are a common occurrence in children. Approximately 5% of all infants suffer from a tear duct blockage, which can present with the tears welling up in the eyelid margins and pouring down over the cheeks. Frequent eye infections with yellow or greenish discharge are also common. Properly diagnosed, Dr. Lavrich can institute a plan to treat the infection, increase tear drainage, and unblock any obstructions with simple messages or a gentle probing technique may be performed if necessary.