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Dry Eyes Q&A with Dr Clark

Q: Dry Eye symptoms seem to be more severe during the winter months. Why?

Dry Eye symptoms can be worse during the winter months because of the contrast between the cold winter winds outside and the dry heat inside that can attack our eyes and cause moisture evaporation. Eyes dry out when the moisture evaporation is occurring faster than our tear glands can produce the fluids that help maintain the protective moist coating on our eyes.

Q: What are some common dry eye symptoms?

Many people say, "My eyes frequently are overly watery. That isn't Dry Eye, is it?" It turns out that excessive watery tearing is a very common, yet confounding, symptom of dry eyes. This watering is due to reflex tearing that occurs in response to the irritation caused by deficiencies in the eyes tear film. Patients with dry eyes often describe the irritation as itchy eyes, a burning sensation, a scratchy sensation or a gritty sensation.

Q: When should someone come in to see their optometrist for Dry Eye symptoms?

Patients should book an appointment to have the eyes examined when their symptoms first start. It is much easier to tackle the effects of a dry eye when they are mild. It is always harder to treat any eye condition or disease after waiting for symptoms to become more advanced.

Q: How do you assess a patient for Dry Eyes?

Our dry eye exam focuses on checking the surface of the eye. The optometrist checks the ocular surface for several things. First, we may measure the volume of your tears or your tear production using the Schirmer test. Other tests use special dyes to determine the condition of the surface of your eyes by looking for staining patterns on the corneas and measuring how long it takes before your tears evaporate.

Q: How do you treat Dry Eyes?

The most common treatments for dry eye include over-the-counter eye drops to lubricate the front surface of the eyes, punctal plugs that can be inserted into the tear ducts to keep the tears on the surface of the eyes for a longer period of time, and vitamins such as fish-oil to increase the production of tears. There are other prescription medications as well that have been shown to increase one’s own tear production.

Q: Are some people more prone to having Dry Eyes?

Yes, there are may factors that can contribute to Dry Eyes. People who live or work in dry climates, dusty or polluted work environments or areas with low humidity often experience Dry Eyes due to evaporation of the tear film. Aging and hormonal changes can also increase the risk of Dry Eyes due to a decrease in tear secretion. Medication side effects can also contribute to Dry Eye development, e.g. certain antihistamines and antidepressants. Lid anatomy and certain diseases can also contribute to Dry Eyes. Also, people who spend a lot of time on the computer or read for long periods are more prone to Dry Eyes due to infrequent blinking.

Q: How can people manage or avoid Dry Eye issues?

The options vary depending on the underlying cause of the dryness as well as the severity of the symptoms. Using artificial tears is generally a good first step. Minimizing time on the computer, taking frequent breaks, and consciously remember to blink can be beneficial as well. Some people may benefit from adding a lubrication gel or ointment at bedtime. Other treatments involve lid scrubs and antibiotic therapy or anti-inflammatory eye drops (Restasis). Some dry eye patients may benefit from punctual plugs (blocks tears from draining) or may even require surgical intervention if lid abnormalities are present. Contact your eye doctor for more information and to see which treatment options are best suited for your specific issues. If you're in the Austin, TX area TSO Capital Plaza eye care practice is here for you.

Greetings again from your TSO Family!

We are excited to say that TSO Capital Plaza is now open for routine eye care! Patients can be seen by appointment only, Monday thru Friday from 9:00AM-5:00PM. Our Saturday schedule will resume within the next few weeks. Please call (512) 452-5735 to schedule your appointment with us. We look forward to seeing you again!

With that being said, we will continue to take every precaution to ensure the safety of our patients, our staff, and our community. You should continue to expect limited entry into the office and very limited volume inside our office in order to maintain social distancing. Additionally, COVID screenings at the door will continue to take place, and safety and rigorous cleaning protocol will be in place. All staff will continue to wear masks (in addition to gloves and goggles as needed) and we ask that all patients come in for their examinations, adjustments, and glasses and contact lens dispenses wearing a mask or face covering as well. Further guidance will be given upon making your appointments.

For specific questions, please email Dr. Opal Amin at

We thank you for your patience and cooperation with our team during this time. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates. We are grateful for our patients, and we thank you for supporting our small business during this time. We hope you are staying safe.

Take care,

Your local family at TSO Capital Plaza and Drs. Amin, Clark, Nguyen and Weeden