ears provide the cornea with moisture,
coat its surface for clear vision and
wash away foreign matter to help pre-
vent infection. Tears are not just
water. They have three layers: mucus, water
and oil. A problem with any layer could be
causing dry eye.
The Costco Connection recently spoke to
Steven J. Lowinger, an independent doctor of
optometry and the owner of three eye care
practices located within Costco warehouses in
Miami. Here he shares how optometrists
diagnose and treat dry eye to help patients
achieve relief that lasts.
Dry eye risk factors
• Too much computer time.
• Dry and windy climates.
• Autoimmune diseases such as thyroid
disease, arthritis or lupus.
Diagnosing the cause
Using a high-powered microscope called a
slit lamp and special dyes, your optometrist
can evaluate the quality, quantity and distribution of your tears to diagnose the cause of
your dry eye.
Additional imaging tests help your
optometrist see whether your cornea has
Preventing dry eye
Treat blurry vision, scratchy
sensations to prevent long-
by JANE LANGILLE
signs of damage from inadequate tear film. If
left untreated, dry eye can progress from mild
to moderate to severe, leading to permanent
damage to the cornea.
Who is affected
• About ; percent of adults ages ;; to ;;.
• About ;; to ;; percent of adults over the
age of ;;.
• More women than men.
Artificial tears may provide quick relief,
but if you’re using them frequently, you’re
probably treating the symptoms, not the
cause. Some over-the-counter drops treat only
one dryness factor. And sometimes dry eye
can worsen if you use the wrong product.
Depending on the cause, treatment may
• Artificial tears (those with no preserva-
tives are better for people with severe dry eye).
• Omega-; dietary supplements.
• Prescription medications.
If your optometrist suspects your dry eye
is linked to another disease, he or she will
refer you to a specialist.
Jane Langille ( janelangille.com) is a health and
medical writer based near Toronto.
At your local Costco
Optical Center, you’ll
find an independent
doctor of optometry
who can provide
exams to assess the
health of your eyes
inside and out.
available at Costco.