Ocular Surface Disease (Dry Eyes)

There are two types of tears your body produces: a lubricating tear and an irrigating tear. Lubricating tears are produced consistently throughout the day to keep the ocular surface from drying out. The irrigating tear is the kind of tear you experience when your eyes "water," or when you cry. It is a deficiency in the lubricating tears which causes or aggravates ocular surface disease or dry eyes.

Drying of the surface of the eye is one of the most common causes of eye irritation. Like dryness of the skin and mouth, this problem increases with age. Although initially harmless, irritating symptoms such as burning, redness and excessive mucus can result.

Symptoms can include:

  • Eye irritation
  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Redness
  • Excessive mucus
  • Burry vision
  • Sharp pain

More severe degrees of dryness can cause permanent tissue damage; such as pinguecula or pterygia.

Often, the symptoms are worse in the evening, due to the daylong evaporation of the tears. Drying of the eyes is often made worse due to staring at a computer, watching television, or prolonged reading. Arid and windy conditions also cause worse dry eye symptoms. There are many treatment options that can be used in treating ocular surface disease or dry eyes. These treatments include using artificial tears, Restasis, and punctual plugs.