As many as 1 in 3 of us suffer from dry eyes. In Calgary, the number is probably even higher due to the desert-like conditions we live in. More women than men have this condition, and contact lens wear can make it worse. Certain medications such as those that treat high blood pressure, allergies or depression can also cause dry eye. And it’s not just discomfort that can result from dry eye – the thin film of tears that coats the front of our eyes also protects them from infection, and actually helps us see better! This is why some of our dry eye patients actually have blurred vision as their number 1 symptom.
So what can we do about it? Plenty! Recent research has developed some new treatments for dry eye. The treatment we will recommend depends on the underlying cause of your dry eye. There may be a problem with your eyelids, resulting in excessive bacteria or inflammation in your tear film, or you may just not be able to produce enough of your own tears. There may be environmental reasons too – simply repositioning your computer screen may make a world of difference. Taking certain types of vitamins can help, and we may also prescribe drops such as anti-inflammatories or special kinds of artificial tears that have been newly developed to target specific problem areas. A new drop called Restasis is showing much promise – newly available in Canada, when taken twice daily it actually helps you make more of your own tears!
Don’t suffer in silence. We’re up on the latest on dry eye treatment – let’s talk at your next visit and see what we can do to help.
– Dr. W