Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is a difficult to pronounce name for “dry eyes”. Specifically, it is dryness in the white part of the eye and the clear part of the eye over the pupil and iris. Anyone who has suffered from dry eyes knows how uncomfortable it is. The eyes burn, itch and feel like there’s grit in them all the time. But this discomfort is the least of what’s wrong with Keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Tears are there to keep the eyes lubricated and to wash out foreign objects. Without this lubrication, the eye can become irritated and vision can be affected. Ulcers and scars can even develop on the eye.
Treatments to Relieve Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
Our medical team at Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute offers many treatments for dry eyes. Among the simplest are artificial tears that our patients apply every few hours. These tears are made of the same compounds that make up real tears, including hyaluronic acid, a sugar that’s found naturally in every living thing and helps keep cells hydrated.
Some eye drops also contain medicine that treats the inflammation that dry eyes can cause. We also have our patients take omega-3 fatty acids by mouth. Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce inflammation and support the production of tears.
Another really good option for dry eyes are ointments that our patients apply just before bed. This prevents morning dryness and saves the patient from having to put in eyedrops throughout the day. The one drawback for ointments is that they shouldn’t be used during the day, because they can make vision blurry.
If these conservative methods don’t work, our ophthalmologists at Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute can insert tiny plugs made of collagen or silicone into the openings in the eyes near the nose. These openings are called puncta. The plugs keep tears in the eyes longer. In severe cases of dry eye, the puncta may be permanently closed by laser surgery. These treatments are outpatient procedures that can take place in the doctor’s office.
Treating Underlying Conditions
Sometimes dry eyes are caused by underlying conditions. This is seen in a disease like Sjögren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease where the patient’s immune system attacks their own cells. In this case, the glands that make tears and saliva are affected. Some patients see relief when they’re given immunosuppressant drugs like methotrexate. To learn more about other causes of dry eye, click here.
Make An Appointment With Our Ophthalmologists at Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute
No one need suffer the discomfort and risk the potential damage of dry eyes. Get in touch with our medical staff at Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute and set up a consultation today. Reach us at 813-681-1122 or request an appoint online by clicking here.