Marian 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:
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
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.
What do you do to avoid slipping? Do have a preferred method for staying injury-free?
Our feet and ankles get a workout every day – even if it’s just from walking around the house or to and from the car running errands. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, one hour of strenuous exercise puts up to one million pounds
of pressure on your feet. Now imagine how much additional stress your feet and ankles can be subjected to when roads and sidewalks are icy and snowy.
Lan Chen, MD, an orthopaedic physician at NorthShore offers her insight on how to avoid a foot or ankle injury this season:
As the days get shorter and the temperatures continue to drop during winter, some people experience depression-like symptoms. Dr. Robert Farra, Director of Solutions for Depression and Anxiety at NorthShore, shines some light on commonly
asked questions relating to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Q: What is seasonal affective disorder?
Q: What are the symptoms of SAD?
Q: How many people are affected?
Q: Why do many people experience depression before the holidays?
Q: How can people combat seasonal depression? Any concrete tips?
Are you affected by the change of the season? What do you do to stay active even with less sunshine?