3477 Grand Avenue, Gurnee, IL 60031

Dry Eye Center

What are the symptoms of dry eyes?

Dry Eye Lake Forest ILDry eyes can cause a gritty, sandy sensation, burning, stinging and itching. Some people notice their eyes sticking shut when they wake up. Sometimes a dry eye can actually seem watery. The eye can be producing poor quality, reflex tears, which don't do the job of keeping the eye lubricated. Similar symptoms may be caused by common eyelid infections, called blepharitis. Our first step is to determine the specific cause of your symptoms.

What is the major cause of dry eye symptoms ?

85% of the cases of eye discomfort and dry eye symptoms are caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). We need to understand a little about tear physiology to understand the problem. There are three layers of tears. The eyeball surface actually does not like to get wet, so the lowest layer is a mucin tear, which sticks to the eye surface. The next layer is the watery layer. This is the layer which is supposed to secreted by the tears glands when we cry or our eyes get irritated, like from smelling onions. The watery tears actually stick to the mucin, which in turn, sticks to the eyeball. The third layer is supposed to be composed of oil, secreted by the meibomian glands. The oil should lie upon the watery layer to prevent tear evaporation and also supply various molecules to keep the eyelids comfortable. Oil is a clear liquid, while wax is a solid at body temperature. In MGD, the meibomian glands can be swollen with wax, so not enough oil and helpful molecules get to the eye surface. The swollen meibomian glands can even cause chronic eyelid discomfort.

What can be done for dry eye symptoms?

We first need to do an external eye exam. If we find a significant blepharitis, we treat with lid scrubs, and possibly antibiotic drops. Many people with chronic blepharitis and dry eye symptoms have a genetic condition called acne rosacea, which causes poor lid oils, and can be easily treated with oral and topical antibiotics. These people tend to have a reddish cast to their skin. If the meibomian glands are swollen, we can gently express them to see the quality of the secretions. We treat waxy secretions with gentle heat using special goggles, followed by more complete lid expression. We find that many people are made much more comfortable just by having their lids expressed. Supplements containing Omega3 oil will improve quality of the meibomian gland secretions and may be all that is necessary in most cases. We will treat more stubborn cases with artificial tears, and Restatis drops.

What if the drops don't work?

At SureVision of Lake County, we can place tiny collagen or silicone plugs in the drainage canals of your eyelids. These plugs prevent the tears from draining down and out of your eyes. Collagen plugs last about 2 weeks. If you notice improvement for a few days, and then the symptoms return, permanent silicone plugs can be inserted. While these plugs are removable if necessary, they do not dissolve on their own and don't require replacing.

Who gets dry eyes?

Virtually anyone is prone to dry eyes, although women get the condition more than men, and older people more often than younger people.

What causes dry eyes?

Various systemic diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or Sjogren's Syndrome can cause dry eyes. Environmental conditions, some prescription and over the counter medications, and wearing contact lenses also contribute to dryness.

What kind of medications cause dry eyes?

Antihistamines, such as Benadryl, anti-depressants, and some blood pressure medications can contribute to dry eye problems. Oral contraceptives are another common culprit, as are alcohol and marijuana. There are countless other over-the-counter and prescriptions; ask us about specific ones.

Why choose SureVision of Lake County for your dry eyes?

If you're reading this page, you have probably already been treated for dry eyes elsewhere without adequate relief. Standard practice is to start treatment with artificial tears, then go to Restasis and then punctum plugs. This is a very successful regimen for the 15% of people with lacrimal gland insufficiency who don't make enough watery tears. We find our protocol using lid expression, blepharitis treatment and Omega 3 supplements to be quite successful for the other 85%.

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