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Dry Eye Syndrome
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Nasrin Afshari, M.D.
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
October 15, 2002

Who gets dry eyes?
Dry eye is a condition that can develop under many circumstances and affects millions of people of all ages and races worldwide. In some, it may be associated with underlying medical problems. The dry eye syndrome is caused by the alteration in one's natural tear film, a thin layer of tears protecting the surface of our eyes. Damage to the surface of the eyes (cornea and conjunctiva) is responsible for the symptoms of dry eyes.

How do I know if I have dry eyes?
If you feel a foreign body sensation in your eyes, then an eye physician (ophthalmologist) can tell you if you have dry eyes by examining your eyes and testing for the amount of tears that your eyes make.

How are dry eyes treated?
Artificial tears, which may be purchased at a local drug store, are the first line of therapy for dry eyes. Artificial tears come in several different brands. Some solutions are thicker than others. The ones which are preservative-free are recommended. The thicker solutions might relieve symptoms for a longer period of time; however, they may cause slight blurriness of vision for a short time after they are applied. A humidified environment also helps dry eyes. Several other modalities of treatment, including occlusion of the tear drainage system with a plug, exist for people with severe dry eyes. Most importantly, people with dry eyes should be examined by an eye physician to be treated for any possible causes of their symptoms.

How do I get more information?
Please call your local eye care professional for more information about dry eyes. To arrange for an appointment in the Massachusetts area with an ophthalmologist call Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary's General Eye Service at (617) 573-3202.

The information and recommendations appearing on these pages are informational only and is not intended to be a basis for diagnosis, treatment or any other clinical application. For specific information concerning your personal medical condition, the DJO suggests that you consult your physician.