Q&A: Dry Eye Syndrome

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 3:01 PM comments (0)

Dr. MacsaiMarian Macsai, MD, NorthShore Division Chief of Ophthalmology, answered questions on dry eye syndrome in the winter edition of Connections and she continues her Q&A here:

Connections Q & A:

What is dry eye syndrome?
It is a condition that develops when the eye does not produce enough of the watery layer that makes up tears, or tears evaporate because they lack normal levels of an oily substance. This inflammatory disease is associated with several factors, including aging, hormonal changes, autoimmune disease, certain medications, disorders of the eye surface and cosmetic surgery. 

What are the symptoms?
Patients typically complain of stinging, burning, pain, redness, tearing, fatigue, blurred vision and intolerance to wearing contact lenses. Some patients also feel as if something is in their eye.

Can I prevent it?
It is important to avoid wind and dry air and to protect your eyes by wearing wraparound sunglasses. Use a humidifier and rest your eyes by taking frequent, short breaks when reading or using a computer or cellphone. Staring at a computer screen reduces the normal rate of blinking and can result in drying of the eye’s surface.

What are my treatment options?
Schedule a complete eye exam to determine the underlying cause of dry eye syndrome. Your doctor may recommend one of the following:• Dietary supplements

  • Dietary supplements
  • A mild eyelash shampoo
  • Cyclosporine eye drops to help you produce more of your own tears
  • Anti-inflammatory eye drops

Over-the-counter artificial tears may provide relief, but seek medical attention if you use them more than four times a day. Some patients may need to reduce or eliminate wearing contact lenses. Patients with advanced cases may require surgery to close the tear drainage system. 

Continued Q & A:

Can delayed treatment of dry eye syndrome damage a patient's vision?
If left untreated, a patient with dry eye syndrome is at a greater risk for infection and erosions of the cornea. In either case, vision may be affected, possibly with a permanent impairment. 

Once dry eye syndrome develops, can it be cured?  
The condition is chronic. It can be controlled but it cannot be cured.

Would improved hydration--drinking more water--reduce symptoms of dry eye syndrome?
Dehydration affections your entire body but dyhydration is not the source of dry eye syndrome. While hydration is important for your general health, staying hydrated has not been shown to improve the symptoms of dry eyes. 

You mention dietary supplements as a treatment option for dry eye syndrome; what supplements would help?
Omega 3 dietary supplements have been shown to decrease inflammation on the ocular surface and improve dry eyes. Not all omega supplements are the same, however. When taking omega 3s, make sure you are taking a triglyceride formulation rather than an ethyl esther formulation. 

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Healthy Vision – Seeing a Clear Picture

Thursday, May 24, 2012 4:03 PM comments (0)

Healthy VisionThink for a moment of all the things that you do on a daily basis that require good eyesight—making meals, driving to work or to run errands, checking your email, counting money or watching television. Since proper eyesight is so important to everything we do, being proactive with prevention and not overlooking problems as they develop is a must.

Just like working to maintain a healthy weight, taking care of your eyesight can also become part of your daily routine.

Marian Macsai, MD, Ophthalmologist at NorthShore, offers these quick tips on how you can protect your eyes and maintain vision health:

  • Get a dilated eye exam. Not only will an ophthalmologist be able to determine if you need corrective lenses, but many common eye conditions (such as macular degeneration and glaucoma) do not have early warning signs. A dilated eye exam can also help identify damage to your eye. This exam can also be used to follow systemic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes that can affect vision.
  • Don’t smoke! Not only is smoking bad for your eyes, but research suggests it is also linked to an increased risk of future eye damage and conditions including macular degeneration.
  • Eat a nutritious diet and maintain an appropriate weight. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help keep your eyes healthy and help you maintain a normal weight.
  • Learn about your family’s eye health conditions and overall medical history. Knowing your eye health history can help determine if you are at greater risk for eye disease. While not all eye conditions are hereditary, it is helpful to know what you may be more prone to and what preventive steps can be taken.
  • Protect your eyes. Wear sunglasses when you are outside to protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays. If your job or sporting hobbies require protective eyewear, be sure to use them. This protective gear can include goggles, safety glasses and shields.


What do you currently do to protect your eyes and maintain healthy vision? Do you know your family’s eye health history?

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