Severe Dry Eyes

Causes | Symptoms | Treatment

What is Severe Dry Eye?

The eye depends on the flow of tears to provide constant moisture and lubrication to maintain vision and comfort. Tears are a combination of water, for moisture; oils, for lubrication; mucus, for even spreading; and antibodies and special proteins, for resistance to infection. These components are secreted by special glands located around the eye. When there is an imbalance in this tear system, a person may experience dry eyes.

In severe case of dry eyes, the cornea can become compromised leading to poor vision and pain. Filaments and exposure keratitis may be the result, which can lead to extreme pain. Traditional dry eyes treatments may not provide enough relief. Large diameter scleral contact lenses may be the only solution can make a dramatic improvement in a dry eye patient’s symptoms and vision.


  • The natural aging process, especially menopause
  • Side effects of certain drugs, such as antihistamines and birth control pills
  • Diseases that affect the ability to make tears, such as Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, Graft versus Host Disease (GVHD), and collagen vascular diseases
  • Structural problems with the eyelids that don’t allow them to close properly


  • Pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • A gritty sensation
  • A feeling of a foreign body or sand in the eye
  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Blurred of vision


  • Large diameter scleral contact lens with excessive tear reservoir
  • Artificial tear drops and ointments
  • Temporary punctal occlusion
  • Non-dissolving punctal plugs and punctal occlusion by cautery (application of heat to tear exit duct)
  • Lipiflow
  • Other medications and nutrition