Dry Eyes Syndrome – Will Laser Surgery Help Me?
Dry eyes syndrome affects between 1 and 4 million Americans. When a person has dry eyes syndrome, their eyes do not make enough tears to keep the eyeball properly lubricated. Keratitis sicca is a form of dry eyes. As people age, tear production often slows down. They may experience a burning sensation or the feeling that there is a foreign object in the eye. The eye may become bloodshot. Blepharitis, which is inflammation of the inside or outside of the eyelid, is a contributing factor in dry eyes syndrome. People with sicca syndrome need to keep their eyes lubricated with artificial tears in order to prevent damage to the cornea and the rest of the eye. Blepharitis, if also present, is treated with a regimen of eyelid hygiene and preservative free artificial tears.
Sjorgrens syndrome symptoms are similar to sicca, but may also include dry mouth and dry skin. Sjogren’s symptom is an autoimmune disease. It is often seen in people with other autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Sjogren’s syndrome, like other autoimmune diseases, is likely to have periods of activity and periods of remission. There is no cure. The first line of defense in treating Sjogren’s, as in treating any dry eyes syndrome, is artificial tears. In more severe cases, the patient might have to take corticosteroids or even stronger immunosuppressive medications. In more severe cases, permanent organ damage can result from this syndrome.
Laser surgery is not used for dry eyes. If a person has sicca, a doctor may do surgery to place plugs in the tear ducts. The plugs prevent the tears from draining, and so keep more natural tears in the eye itself. If dry eyes are caused by Sjogren’s, then the underlying autoimmune problems need to be addressed. Surgery is no help in this situation.