High Pollen Levels Linked to Dry Eye Syndrome
If during springtime you notice your eyes are burning and irritated and/or have blurry vision—you just might have dry eye syndrome. A new study published in the April, 2015 journal Ophthalmology found a correlation between dry eye and spring.
The researchers analyzed 3.4 million visits to Veterans Affairs eye clinics nationwide between 2006 and 2011. During that time, nearly 607,000 cases of dry eye were diagnosed. They found that April had the highest rate of patients diagnosed with dry eye, nearly 21 percent. April is also when pollen levels usually peak each year.
In terms of seasons, there was a spike in spring when 18.5 percent of patients were diagnosed with dry eye, and another spike in winter. Rates were lowest in summer, at just over 15 percent, according to the study.
The evidence linking pollen and dry eye suggests people with dry eye may benefit from allergy prevention in addition to treatments such as artificial tears, the researchers said.
Dry Eye Treatment
When it comes to treating dry eyes, everyone’s needs are a little different. Many find relief simply from using artificial tears on a regular basis. Some of these products are watery and alleviate the symptoms temporarily; others are thicker and adhere to the eye longer. Preservative-free tears are recommended because they are the most soothing and have fewer additives that could potentially irritate.
Closing the opening of the tear drain in the eyelid with special inserts called punctal plugs is another option. These plugs trap the tears on the eye, keeping it moist. This may be done on a temporary basis with a dissolvable collagen plug, or permanently with a silicone plug.
Taking special supplements formulated just for dry eyes can help too. We recommend Dry Eye Omega Benefits® formulated with a high concentration of the anti-inflammatory omega-3, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) in its natural triglyceride form, combined with vitamin D3 for additional comprehensive health benefits. This product offers an effective, safe, and natural way to address dry eye symptoms systemically rather than topically.
We can help
Our doctors are specially trained in dry eye diagnosis. They will perform a comprehensive eye examination with a special emphasis on the evaluation of the quantity and quality of tears produced by the eyes.
As an accredited TearLab Dry Eye Center, we use the TearLab Osmolarity System to objectively measure, diagnose, and customize dry eye treatment and therapies. Call to schedule an appointment–518-438-5273.