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Dry Eye Institute

What Is Dry Eye?

Dry eye describes eyes that do not produce enough tears or that produce tears with the incorrect chemical composition to lubricate and nourish the eye.

Dry eye is most often a result of the eyes' natural aging process though can be a result of health, environmental or other factors as well.

Dry eye symptoms are often different in different people, but if you have inadequate tear production, you may experience the following:

  • Irritated, scratchy, dry or uncomfortable eyes
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Burning sensation of the eyes
  • A feeling of a foreign body in the eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Excessive watering of the eyes
  • Eyes that seem to have lost their normal clear glassy luster

If untreated, dry eye can be more than just irritating or uncomfortable.

Excessive dry eye can damage eye tissue and possibly scar the cornea, the transparent front covering of the eye, which could result in impaired vision. Contact lens wear may be more difficult due to the possibility of increased irritation and a greater chance of eye infection.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of dry eye, your optometrist can perform "dry eye" tests using diagnostic instruments to evaluate the quality, amount and distribution of your tears. Your optometrist will also need to know about your every day activities, your general health, medications you are taking and about environmental factors that may be causing your symptoms.

Unfortunately, dry eye cannot be cured, but your eye's sensitivity can be lessened and treatment can be prescribed so that your eyes remain healthy and your vision is not affected.

Dry eye does not go away, but by working together you and your Doctor in the Dry Eye Institute can keep your eyes healthy and protect your vision.

Management of your condition can be provided at the Dry Eye Institute of the University Eye Center at Ketchum Health, or in collaboration with your referring practitioner.

corneal dye photo   TearLab photo
Diagnostic dyes such as sodium
fluorescein are used to identify corneal
compromise due to dry eye.
  TearLab is a newer instrument that samples a small amount of tears to gauge the severity of your dry eye and track your improvement with treatment over time.