Ophthalmologist in Syracuse UT

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, prescription dry eye drops, and punctual plugs.


Most patients obtain relief by using artificial tears to supplement the lubrication that our own natural tears provide. Pharmacies and super stores (like Target and Walmart) carry many different brands. They all work by moisturizing and coating the outside surface of the eye. There are four main types of ocular lubricants:

Artificial tears drops

Provides relief for mild-moderate dryness. Generally does not blur vision.

Artificial tear gel drops

Provides relief for moderate-severe dryness. It will blur vision up to a minute or two. Provides longer relief than the drops.

Artificial tear gel

Provides relief for severe dryness. It will blur vision for an extended time period. Artificial tear gel works best when used before you go to sleep to provide lubrication through the night.

Preservative-free artificial tears

Some people will experience irritation from the preservatives used in artificial tears. It is generally recommended to use preservative-free tears if you use them consistently more than 4-6 times a day. Preservative-free artificial tears come in individual vials rather than a bottle.

Because artificial tears contain no medication, they do not require a prescription and can be used whenever symptoms of dryness occur. More advanced degrees of dryness may require further treatment.


Restasis, Xiidra and Cequa are prescription eye drops used twice a day to increase your natural ability to produce tears. Inflammation caused by chronic drying can actually decrease the amount of lubricating tears you produce.

Our doctors are happy to meet with you and prescribe one of these medications to help relieve your symptoms. To make an appointment or for more information, you may contact us at (801) 773-2233 or info@utaheyedoc.com.


A punctal plug is a tiny medical device inserted into the tear duct to block the drainage system of the eye. Plugging the tear duct conserves your own tears and makes artificial tears last longer.

Our doctors can tell you if punctual plugs are good option for you. To make an appointment or for more information, you may contact us at (801) 773-2233 or info@utaheyedoc.com.

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Layton Location

1580 West Antelope Drive
Suite 175
Layton, UT 84041

Ogden Location

3988 Washington Blvd
South Ogden, UT 84403


Layton Location

Clinic Hours:
Mon - Fri: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Optical Hours:
Mon - Fri: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Ogden Location

Mon - Fri: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm