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Dry Eyes- Questions and Answers from Dr. Palumbo

We were fortunate enough to ask West Milford's own Dr. Palumbo some questions about Dry Eyes- a very common problem affecting many people in New Jersey this winter.

Q: Is it true that Dry Eye symptoms seem to be more severe in the winter than in the warmer spring and summer months?
A: Yes, Dry eyes is worse in the winter months because of hot air heat that we encounter in our cars and homes, etc. The hot air is very drying to the eyes. The extreme cold air blowing in one's face is also very drying.

Q: When should a person come in to see their optometrist for Dry Eye symptoms and when is it enough to take care of this problem yourself?
A: One should come in and see an optometrist whenever the symptoms are interfering with one's lifestyle. For example a patient says that they can't drive because their eyes are tearing. Or I have heard patients complain of the rash on their face because of constantly wiping their tears.

Q: I have a friend whose eyes are frequently overly watery. That isn't Dry Eye, is it?
A: Yes that certainly can be dry eye. Eyes that frequently water do so for 2 main reasons: one the tear ducts may be blocked and in that case the patient needs to see an oculoplastic surgeon. If the ducts are blocked, the patient may need to consider surgery to correct the problem. Secondly, eyes water from dry eyes. The body is amazing; it senses that something is wrong and tries to correct it. So the eye senses the dryness and tries to correct itself by creating tears. Unfortunately, the eye creates too much tears and the tears overflow and the eyes water.

Q: What are the typical treatments used to help people suffering from Dry Eyes?
A: Some of the treatment of dry eye include, artificial tears, tear gel, restasis, llevro, tear plugs, vitamins, fish oil capsules and cool humidifier while sleeping.

Q: Are some people more prone to having Dry Eyes than others?
A: Yes, middle aged women are prone to dry eyes secondary to hormones. Certain medications can cause dry eyes. Some autoimmune diseases can also cause dry eyes. The environment is a major cause too- people with allergies tend to suffer from Dry Eyes as well.

Q: Do you have any recommendations for people to help them avoid Dry Eye issues?
A: Trying to avoid dry eyes can be difficult. The patient must be proactive and try to stay on top of the symptoms to try to keep them at bay. An annual visit to the eye doctor can be helpful as the doctor can help identify the causes of your dry eye and can recommend some solutions.

For more information about Dry Eyes and what we can do to help you, please click here.