Aqueous Dry Eye
Responsible for approximately 1 in 10 cases of dry eye, aqueous dry eye occurs when the lacrimal glands in the eye are not able to produce enough tears to keep your eyes moist. Precisely speaking, there is an under-production of the watery (aqueous) part of the tears. If your eyes constantly feel dry, if you are able to go without blinking for a long period of time or stare directly at a bright light without your eyes watering, or if tears occur as painful for you, you may suffer from aqueous dry eye.
The lacrimal glands contain around 60 different proteins and electrolytes, and, of course, water. Sometimes the shortage of water being produced is due to serious underlying auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or Sjogren’s Syndrome. Other causes include temporary or permanent damage to the lacrimal glands from nerve damage caused by laser eye surgery, or from chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer. Over the counter eye drops can provide temporary relief, but the key word there is temporary – the results don’t last very long before a re-application of drops is needed. Some kinds of drops may even make aqueous dry eye worse.
The good news is that there are several different new treatments available to help patients with aqueous dry eye. At UELC, you can come in with no obligation and no fee to have your eyes examined by one of our therapeutically qualified eye specialists, who will be happy to test your eyes for aqueous dry eye and recommend a course of treatment.
There are several treatment options available, including:
- Artificial tear supplements that compensate for the low level of aqueous production. These usually contain a gel base, methylcellulose, glycerin, or other lubricants to help ease the symptoms of aqueous dry eye.
- Punctal plugs work by plugging the punctum in the eyelids that drain the tears out to the nasal passages, thus preserving the natural tears present. Made of silicone or collagen, the plugs can be removed at any time.
- Restasis is a medication containing cyclosporine that is best suited to treat aqueous dry eye. It works by actually increasing the amount of tears that are being produced, and healing corneal damage associated with dry eyes. Anti-inflammatory steroids may also be prescribed in conjunction with Restasis for initial temporary use.
Because many of these symptoms are mimicked by allergies, fatigue and eye strain, they may be attributed to other conditions and the root cause can go untreated. Given our decades of experience performing vision-correcting laser eye surgeries, UELC doctors recognize the signs and symptoms of true dry eye and are experts in diagnosing and treating the various underlying conditions that cause dry eye.
If you suffer from dry eyes, the most important thing to remember is that help is available. It starts with a complete eye examination and a diagnosis to determine the type and origin of your dry eyes, followed by information on the available treatment options and the creation of a treatment plan that’s perfect for you. If you have aqueous dry eye, no matter what a doctor or the Internet may have told you, you may not need to struggle with messy, ineffective drops or simply learn to cope with scratchy, painful eyes on a daily basis. We welcome you to call us today to arrange for a dry eye consultation in our comfortable, well-equipped medical centre, and get relief for your dry eyes today!