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DRY EYES: Aqueous deficiency and what you can do about it.

Dry Eyes comes in two forms: Aqueous Deficiency or Meibomian […]

By Published On: 5 February 20122.9 min read

Dry Eyes comes in two forms: Aqueous Deficiency or Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.

Understanding aqueous deficient dry eye can help you select the right treatment options.

Aqueous deficiency dry eye is often called aqueous deficient dry eye, and lacrimal insufficiency dry eye. This means that the glands in your eye that produce the water for your tears, called the lacrimal glands, are not producing enough to keep your eyes moist.

There are certain glands responsible for lubrication of your eyes – the lacrimal glands, responsible for the “water” layer of tears (known as the aqueous layer), and the meibomian glands, responsible for the “oily” layer of your tears. The lacrimal glands contain around 60 different proteins and electrolytes, and, of course, water.

In other words, you are literally having dry eye when you have aqueous deficiency – you’re not producing enough water!

Common Causes of Aqueous Deficiency Dry Eye

The most common source of aqueous deficiency is from auto-immune disorders – Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and, among the most notorious cause, Sjogren’s Syndrome.

Other causes include laser eye surgery, where lacrimal glands can become temporarily or permanently damaged, and chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer, where the lacrimal glands can be damaged by the treatment.

How you can treat Aqueous Deficiency Dry Eye

The most important thing to do is find out why you’re suffering from dry eye – pay a visit to your therapeutically qualified optometrist. If you’re in our area, come in and see us to find out more about your specific condition. There are several different treatments that can help.

For some people just use over-the-counter drops for their dry eye, which may bring temporary relief, but may not last long given the causes of some cases of aqueous deficiency. In some cases, cheap OTC drops may make aqueous deficiency worse. Let your doctor determine if drops are a proper solution for your specific problem.

The pictures above show severe aqueous deficient dry eyes that have been stained using a common dye called Rose Bengal.

Treatments for aqueous deficient dry eye include:

•    Different types of drops: When it comes to aqueous deficiency,
certain drops will help alleviate your symptoms, and others will not.
Gels, methylcellulose, glycerin, eyelid sprays, and other lubricants can
help ease the symptoms, but not treat the cause.  Choose un-preserved ampules where possible.  Preservatives can make the dry eyes worse sometimes.

•    Punctal Plugs: Silicone or collagen plugs that prevent tear drainage to the nasal passages. The collagen plugs are temporary (and the silicone plugs are permanent for severe cases), and the aid of lubricant drops can help relieve dry eye. Silicon plugs can be removed if need be at any time.

•    Punctal cautery: A surgical method that is permanent, and does exactly what punctal plugs do but is permanent.  Do not choose permanent options where possible as to retrieve the drainage system of the eye can get complicated.

•    Cyclosporine and Steroid drops: These are prescription anti-inflammatory drugs that can help you by increasing tear production and healing corneal damage associated with dry eye. When going with this treatment option, your doctor will need to monitor you closely for rises in intraocular pressure due to the steroid drops.  Steroids are a temporary course of treatment and Cyclosporine is used ongoing once the eyes have been settled.

Don’t wait to find relief for your dry eyes! If you’d like to get help with aqueous deficiency or any form of eye irritations, call us on 9290 1899.


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