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Eye Physicians & Surgeons, PC Office
Decatur Office:
1457 Scott Blvd.
Decatur, Ga. 30030



(404) 292-2500

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North Atlanta Office:
5775 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd.
Peachtree Dunwoody Pavilion
Building D, Suite 175
Atlanta, Ga. 30342

(404) 303-8882

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Dry Eye Syndrome

Your eyes are a delicately balanced eco-system in which tears play a large and important role. Every time you blink, tears form a coating that protects and nourishes the eyes' surface. When tear production is reduced, your eyes feel dry, scratchy and irritated.

Ironically, the tear producing glands sometimes react to the dry, scratchy feeling by watering more than ever. But these "reflex tears" do not relieve the dryness as they lack a natural component that is essential to lubricate the cornea properly.

If you experience one or any combination of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from a medical condition known as Dry Eye Syndrome:

  • Burning and stinging
  • Gritty feeling when there is nothing in your eye
  • Dryness
  • Itching
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Mucous secretions in the eye


What Causes Dry Eye?
There are many possible causes of dry eye. The most common include:
  • The Aging Process - As we grow older, our eyes produce fewer lubricating tears. A condition associated with arthritis, known as Sjogren's syndrome, can also dry out the mouth and eyes.
  • Menopause and Pregnancy - While men and women of any age can experience dry eyes, women are more prone to develop dry eyes after menopause and during pregnancy.
  • Contact Lenses - Dry eye is a major cause of contact lens discomfort. The reason is simple. Wearing lenses frequently causes an increase in tear evaporation, which leads to irritation, increased protein deposits, infection, and pain.
  • Medication - Common medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, diuretics, beta-blockers, sleeping pills, anti-depressants, pain relievers, and alcohol can cause decrease in tear secretion. Frequent use of preserved eye drops or artificial tears can also aggravate dry eye conditions.
  • Environment - -Just about everywhere you turn in this world, you run into something that can dry out your eyes. These include sunny, windy, dry conditions; heaters, dehumidifiers, fans or air conditioners, high altitudes; smoke or air pollution; sand, dust or airborne pollen. The list is virtually endless.


Diagnosing Dry Eye Syndrome
Your eye doctor may use a combination of several methods to determine whether you have Dry Eye Syndrome.
  • Eye Drops - A few drops containing dye in each eye will help your eye doctor check for any dry spots.
  • Color Bar Schirmer Test - This simple, painless test assesses tear volume. By placing the tip of a specially treated strip of paper in the lower lid of your eye, your eye doctor is able to measure the amount of tears your eye produces in a five-minute period.
  • Temporary Closing of Tear Ducts - In this method, your eye doctor inserts small dissolvable collagen plugs into your tear ducts to prevent tear drainage and allow tears to build up and bathe the eyes. Collagen plugs dissolve in just a few days. If you get relief from your symptoms during this test period, your eye doctor may recommend permanent closure of your tear ducts with long-term plugs.


Treating Dry Eye Syndrome
Your eye doctor will determine the best treatment for you. Treatments may include:
  • Artificial Tears
  • Long-term Punctum Plugs
  • Prescription eye drops


Adapted from information provided by Ophthalmics FCI